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Investigation of science faculty with education specialties within the largest university system in the United States.

Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Tanner KD, Williams KS - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: We found that CSU SFES were engaged in three key arenas including K-12 science education, undergraduate science education, and discipline-based science education research.Although over 75% of CSU SFES were fulfilled by their teaching, scholarship, and service, our results revealed that almost 40% of CSU SFES were seriously considering leaving their positions.Our data suggest that science departments would likely benefit from explicit discussions about the role of SFES and strategies for supporting their professional activities.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA.

ABSTRACT
Efforts to improve science education include university science departments hiring Science Faculty with Education Specialties (SFES), scientists who take on specialized roles in science education within their discipline. Although these positions have existed for decades and may be growing more common, few reports have investigated the SFES approach to improving science education. We present comprehensive data on the SFES in the California State University (CSU) system, the largest university system in the United States. We found that CSU SFES were engaged in three key arenas including K-12 science education, undergraduate science education, and discipline-based science education research. As such, CSU SFES appeared to be well-positioned to have an impact on science education from within science departments. However, there appeared to be a lack of clarity and agreement about the purpose of these SFES positions. In addition, formal training in science education among CSU SFES was limited. Although over 75% of CSU SFES were fulfilled by their teaching, scholarship, and service, our results revealed that almost 40% of CSU SFES were seriously considering leaving their positions. Our data suggest that science departments would likely benefit from explicit discussions about the role of SFES and strategies for supporting their professional activities.

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Biology SFES versus non-Biology SFES perceptions of service activities. Perception that SFES service activities are understood by (A), match expectations of (B), and are valued by (C) SFES's department, college, and university disaggregated by Biology SFES and non-Biology SFES. *Indicates statistically significant differences (p < 0.05).
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Figure 10: Biology SFES versus non-Biology SFES perceptions of service activities. Perception that SFES service activities are understood by (A), match expectations of (B), and are valued by (C) SFES's department, college, and university disaggregated by Biology SFES and non-Biology SFES. *Indicates statistically significant differences (p < 0.05).

Mentions: SFES commonly reported that they had greater demands on their time for service activities compared with non-SFES (Figure 6C). A notable difference appeared for Biology SFES, who consistently reported that their efforts were not valued or understood by their university to a degree not seen across other disciplines examined. Smaller proportions of Biology SFES felt that those service activities were understood by their department than did non-Biology SFES (Figure 10A; χ2 = 4.4, p = 0.036). Similarly, smaller proportions of Biology SFES felt that their service expectations matched those of their university when compared with non-Biology SFES (Figure 10B; χ2 = 5.4, p = 0.020). That pattern was similar for the perceptions of value for their service activities (Figure 10C).


Investigation of science faculty with education specialties within the largest university system in the United States.

Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Tanner KD, Williams KS - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Biology SFES versus non-Biology SFES perceptions of service activities. Perception that SFES service activities are understood by (A), match expectations of (B), and are valued by (C) SFES's department, college, and university disaggregated by Biology SFES and non-Biology SFES. *Indicates statistically significant differences (p < 0.05).
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3046885&req=5

Figure 10: Biology SFES versus non-Biology SFES perceptions of service activities. Perception that SFES service activities are understood by (A), match expectations of (B), and are valued by (C) SFES's department, college, and university disaggregated by Biology SFES and non-Biology SFES. *Indicates statistically significant differences (p < 0.05).
Mentions: SFES commonly reported that they had greater demands on their time for service activities compared with non-SFES (Figure 6C). A notable difference appeared for Biology SFES, who consistently reported that their efforts were not valued or understood by their university to a degree not seen across other disciplines examined. Smaller proportions of Biology SFES felt that those service activities were understood by their department than did non-Biology SFES (Figure 10A; χ2 = 4.4, p = 0.036). Similarly, smaller proportions of Biology SFES felt that their service expectations matched those of their university when compared with non-Biology SFES (Figure 10B; χ2 = 5.4, p = 0.020). That pattern was similar for the perceptions of value for their service activities (Figure 10C).

Bottom Line: We found that CSU SFES were engaged in three key arenas including K-12 science education, undergraduate science education, and discipline-based science education research.Although over 75% of CSU SFES were fulfilled by their teaching, scholarship, and service, our results revealed that almost 40% of CSU SFES were seriously considering leaving their positions.Our data suggest that science departments would likely benefit from explicit discussions about the role of SFES and strategies for supporting their professional activities.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA.

ABSTRACT
Efforts to improve science education include university science departments hiring Science Faculty with Education Specialties (SFES), scientists who take on specialized roles in science education within their discipline. Although these positions have existed for decades and may be growing more common, few reports have investigated the SFES approach to improving science education. We present comprehensive data on the SFES in the California State University (CSU) system, the largest university system in the United States. We found that CSU SFES were engaged in three key arenas including K-12 science education, undergraduate science education, and discipline-based science education research. As such, CSU SFES appeared to be well-positioned to have an impact on science education from within science departments. However, there appeared to be a lack of clarity and agreement about the purpose of these SFES positions. In addition, formal training in science education among CSU SFES was limited. Although over 75% of CSU SFES were fulfilled by their teaching, scholarship, and service, our results revealed that almost 40% of CSU SFES were seriously considering leaving their positions. Our data suggest that science departments would likely benefit from explicit discussions about the role of SFES and strategies for supporting their professional activities.

Show MeSH