posted October 11, 2010

Lecture to Consider Nationwide Loss of Science Teachers

The nationwide loss of science teachers will be the focus of the annual Gentile Lectureship presented in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend at Hope College.

Author and educational consultant Sheila Tobias of Tucson, Ariz., will present "Teachers' Authority vs. Teacher Accountability:  Must We Choose?" on Friday, Oct. 22, at 3:30 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Tobias is co-author, with Anne Baffert, of the book "Science Teaching as a Profession:  Why It Isn't.  How It Could Be," published earlier this year by the National Science Teachers Association.  The book considers the exodus by science teachers from the profession, and how the loss negatively affects science education in the U.S.  Using research from interviews with science teachers throughout the U.S., the authors cite poor working conditions, low pay, and loss of autonomy and control - with federal laws stressing test results over quality of knowledge -- as reasons for diminished teacher satisfaction.

Tobias is the author or co-author of a dozen books, on topics including not only science education, but math anxiety; women, militarism and war; and the women's movement.  She has received external support for her work from agencies including the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Research Corporation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Educated in history and literature at Harvard/Radcliffe, Tobias earned a master's in history and an M.Phil at Columbia University.  She holds eight honorary doctorates, the most recent from Michigan State University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The Gentile Interdisciplinary Lectureship at Hope was established in 2005 by faculty colleagues, former students and friends of Dr. James Gentile. Gentile joined the Hope faculty in 1976 and served as dean for the natural sciences from 1988 to 2005, when he became president of Research Corporation, a private foundation in Tucson, Ariz., that supports basic research in the physical sciences.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at Street.