more about the science educator position

The position. To further our commitment to science education for both Trinity students and the larger San Antonio school system, we announce a tenure-track position for a science educator. In order to enable interaction with scientists on our own campus as well as to train future teachers in the scientific process and lab development, we seek someone with an active program of scientific research to complement a strong background in education. Consequently, the successful candidate will have both a research laboratory in the appropriate science department and an office in the Education Department. The position includes start up funds to establish a research laboratory. We welcome applications from science educators from a broad range of scientific disciplines. Trinity’s science departments include biology, chemistry, geosciences, and physics & astronomy, and we offer BS degrees in biochemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, geoscience, neuroscience, and physics & astronomy. This appointment will be at the level of assistant professor.

This position will be an appointment in the Department of Education. The science educator will contribute to the Education Department’s teacher certification curriculum and teach courses in his/her specialty and may also offer science courses for non-science majors. Trinity’s standard teaching load is 9 contact hours per semester. We look to this position to significantly strengthen the training of aspiring science teachers. While Trinity students pursuing teacher certification are required to be highly competent in content areas, our most recent NCATE accreditation report encouraged more systematic training in content-specific pedagogy in highly specialized areas like science. Trinity emphasizes apprenticeship as the most effective way to learn to teach and in the 5th year of our master’s (MAT) program, students are placed with a mentor teacher in a public school for four days a week. Students learn pedagogical skills from their mentors, but the mentors often lack pedagogical content knowledge in science adequate to guide our students in curriculum development. We look to a position in science education to help us fill this gap.

Another benefit of adding a science educator will be an increase in the number of science majors pursuing teaching careers. A critical need exists to increase the number of highly qualified science teachers in PK-12 schools. Although Trinity may not produce large numbers of science teachers, we can, with our emphasis on content knowledge, produce more teachers with science majors who will become leaders in efforts to strengthen science instruction. Over the past four years, our NSF-funded Robert Noyce scholarship program has enabled us to increase the number of science and math teachers that we graduate each year. The grant has also enabled Trinity science faculty to focus on this issue, to develop greater support for recruiting science majors to teaching, and to sustain a dialogue about science teaching

Finally, the addition of the science educator position will directly support the course development and outreach efforts of the TU-HHMI Program. Part of our program focuses on developing and teaching courses for non-science majors in our Common Curriculum. We look to the science educator to provide helpful insights in this effort, serving to make the pedagogical approaches as effective and engaging as possible. We also look to the science educator to provide important insights for the development and execution of our Science Curriculum Writing Institute and TU-HHMI Science Academy.

The relationship between the natural sciences and education departments at Trinity has quickly evolved over the past few years, with HHMI support playing an important role. Originally, faculty in the sciences and in education coordinated efforts to support Texas teacher certification requirements. Our 2004 HHMI program developed interactions among science faculty, education faculty and science teachers that were more richly programmatic and helped to forge a shared vision for improving science teaching. We were subsequently able to attract NSF-Noyce funding to support scholarships for students seeking to become science teachers. This science educator position further strengthens the relationship between the natural sciences and education.



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