A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Western Kentucky University professor earns national recognition for STEM education research

Dr. Lisa C. Duffin, an associate professor of psychology, has earned national recognition for her research on STEM education as part of Western Kentucky University’s SKyTeach Program.

Dr. Duffin received the 2016-2017 UTeach STEM Educators Association (USEA) Faculty Scholar Award, which is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to furthering the body of research on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.

Dr. Martha M. Day, (left) USEA Immediate Past President and SKyTeach Co-Director, presented the USEA Faculty Scholar Award to Dr. Lisa C. Duffin, WKU associate professor of psychology and SKyTeach faculty member, at the annual UTeach Institute’s National Conference in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brett Buchanan).

Dr. Duffin was honored for her scholarly work examining factors that influence academic quality in mathematics and science education and her mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate student scholars.

“Being recognized on a national stage by the UTeach STEM Educators Association for my scholarly efforts in STEM education is an incredible honor,” Dr. Duffin said. “As a faculty member of the SKyTeach Program at WKU, I am afforded wonderful opportunities to conduct applied research in partnership with SKyTeach students, SKyTeach graduates, SKyTeach and WKU faculty, as well as STEM educators in the field and from different universities. Research advances the knowledge in our fields; however, I believe it serves a much greater purpose. Research provides a forum to extend student learning and ignite passion for inquiry outside of the classroom which is something I truly love to do.”

Dr. Martha M. Day, USEA Immediate Past President and SKyTeach Co-Director, presented the award May 24 at the annual UTeach Institute National Conference in Austin, Texas.

“It is exciting that Dr. Duffin has finally been formally recognized on a national level for her contributions to the scholarly body of knowledge in STEM education,” Dr. Day said. “She has been a vital member to the SKyTeach team helping to prepare mathematics and science teachers at Western Kentucky University.”

The SKyTeach program also earned national recognition at the conference for producing the most STEM teacher graduates by a UTeach university affiliate. SKyTeach has been in operation for nine years and has graduated 243 students as of spring 2017.

UTeach is a nationally recognized STEM teacher preparation program at the University of Texas at Austin that spurred the national expansion effort in partnership with Exxon Mobile and the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) creating the UTeach Institute. The UTeach Institute comprises 46 universities in 22 states and the District of Columbia implementing UTeach programs to prepare mathematics and science teachers for service in our nation’s schools.

WKU’s SKyTeach Program was one of 13 schools in the inaugural cohort of UTeach replication sites earning a $2.4 million grant from Exxon Mobile and NMSI. The SKyTeach program has more than 150 students enrolled and continues to provide quality training to both pre-service teachers within the program and practicing teachers through professional development workshops. For information about the SKyTeach Program, visit www.wku.edu.

From Western Kentucky University

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