Wright State University biologist Lisa Kenyon, who has been honored for her efforts to improve the scientific literacy of students, has been elected board director of the National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) college science teaching division.
The division was recently changed to postsecondary division, making it more inclusive of Advanced Placement teachers, high school teachers teaching college courses, community colleges and four-year colleges.
“It’s an exciting time for NSTA,” said Kenyon, associate professor of biological sciences who teaches in the College of Science and Mathematics. “I am very honored to be elected to this director division. As director of my division standing committee, our focus will be on improving college student success.”
The Board of Directors is comprised of 10 division directors and three NSTA presidents. Terms of office are for three years, with Kenyon beginning her term June 1. As a fixed responsibility of office, the division directors each serve as chairperson of the related Division Standing Committee. Members of the Board of Directors attend all meetings of the Congress and Council as nonvoting observers.
The association is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. Members are currently voting on a NSTA name change to National Science Teaching Association to make it more inclusive of all who teach science, not only teachers. NSTA’s current membership is about 50,000.
“Having seen Lisa’s ideas about teaching for these years at Wright State, I am confident in saying that there couldn’t be a better choice,” said David Goldstein, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “It makes me happy to think that she will have a strong voice in national-level discussions about college science teaching.”
Kenyon’s research focuses on student learning and teaching about scientific practices in K–12 and teacher education. Her teaching initiatives are implemented in science major, non-science major and education courses at Wright State, and her collaboratively developed middle school science curriculum is used nationally.
Kenyon said reaffirming the value of scientific literacy is perhaps now more important than ever and that there is a pedagogical shift emerging in K–12 classrooms across the country.
“Students are arguing with evidence, using technology to communicate ideas, and reasoning to explain phenomena,” she said. “College students are bringing these new science skills to our college classrooms, and it is our mission to continue to build on this student energy toward improving science literacy and preparing students to move in a world of evidence-based decisions.”
Kenyon initiated the Ph.D. Biomedical Science Education Track in Biomedical Sciences. Her lab has consistently provided undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to become involved in science education research at every level. Those students continue to be leaders in the field.
Kenyon is a recipient of the 2017 Affiliate Societies Council Outstanding Engineers and Scientists Award. In 2016, she was honored as the Robert J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching at Wright State.
Kenyon holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a master’s in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M and her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction-science education from the University of Houston. Her postdoc in science education research was completed at Northwestern.