Hope College has awarded an honorary degree to Jeanne L. Narum, director of the Independent Colleges Office and founding director of Project Kaleidoscope, for her "distinguished and transformational impact on science education throughout the world."
Hope conferred the degree, a Doctor of Science, on Friday, Oct. 9, in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
"You have accomplished more in 20 years for STEM [science, technology engineering and mathematics] education than most can do in a lifetime," said Hope College President Dr. James Bultman, who introduced Narum for the presentation of the degree. Bultman noted that nominations for the honor came from the college's current and two previous deans of the natural and applied sciences: Dr. Moses Lee, Dr. James Gentile and Dr. F. Sheldon Wettack respectively, all of whom were on stage for the event.
Narum became director of the Independent Colleges Office in Washington, D.C., in 1988 and the founding director of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) in 1989.
PKAL is one of the leading advocates in the United States for what works in building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It has helped form national networks geared toward transforming undergraduate science and engineering education. Since 1991, 6,500 individuals from more than 1,400 campuses have participated in one or more PKAL activities.
Narum has leadership responsibility for all PKAL activities. She has been the principal author of 24 funded proposals supporting PKAL work for a total of $9,730,000. She has convened PKAL workshops around the country, and has developed a portfolio of STEM leadership development activities that led to the PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century or F21 program. There are now 1,400 F21 members, including 300 in senior academic positions.
As director of the ICO, Narum is responsible for monitoring federal programs and policies that have an impact on the capacity of liberal arts colleges to be competitive in the search for federal grants that support faculty research, as well as programmatic and institutional development. Such programs include (but are not limited to) those offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars and the National Science Foundation.
Bultman thanked Narum for her impact on Hope faculty and programs specifically.
"Your regular campus visits that engage you in one-on-one and group meetings with young faculty to assist them in the development of their scholarship and proposals have helped to shape and enhance the careers of numerous Hope faculty," he said. "Your programs significantly influenced the design of the Schaap Science Center, which fosters interdisciplinary STEM education at Hope. Your review and counsel on a wide range of grant proposals have assisted Hope in numerous funded grants. You have also been a strong voice for Hope in Washington and elsewhere when it comes to identifying programs that work."
Narum's professional service has also included positions as society liaison for the American Association of Physics Teachers, consultant for EU Internationalization in the Transatlantic Context, adviser to the Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials and Systems at ClarkAtlantaUniversity, and member of the STEM Council, OaktonCommunity College. Narum has also served on the boards of the Puerto Rico Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, the Biological and Chemical Sciences at the University of Maryland College Park, and the Research Corporation Presidential Advisory Board.
In November she will receive the Council of Independent Colleges Award for Academic Excellence. Her honors have also included a lifetime achievement award from Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience and a presidential citation from the American Psychological Association. She was named an AWIS fellow by the Association for Women in Science, and received a Distinguished Alumna Award from St.Olaf College, from which she holds a Bachelor of Music degree.
She also served in administrative capacities at St. Olaf, Dickinson and Augsburg colleges. In addition to from Hope, she holds honorary degrees from George Washington University, St. Lawrence University, University of Redlands, Ripon College and the University of Portland.
Hope awarded Narum her honorary degree in conjunction with the college's annual Gentile Interdisciplinary Lectureship, which this year was presented as a part of Hope's celebration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the chemistry and physics programs as academic departments in 1909. The address itself was delivered by Dr. A. Paul Schaap, a 1967 graduate who is retired from the Wayne State University faculty and from Lumigen Inc., the company which he founded in 1987 to commercialize the dioxetanes (high-energy chemical compounds which can be triggered to generate light) developed in his research laboratory.