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Scholar Timothy F. Slater will join the University of Wyoming College of Education faculty next academic year as the first recipient of the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Science Education.
Slater is an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona (UA), where he founded and directs the internationally recognized Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) team.
He says three factors contributed to his decision to accept the UW assignment: a prominent platform to advance the practice and research of science education that an endowed chair provides, and access to unique resources; the opportunity to apply a successful model of graduate education that he developed at UA to a wider range of science disciplines; and the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across campus to deliver high-quality programming that strengthens science instruction and teacher preparation.
Slater anticipates focusing on two early goals upon arriving in Wyoming. One high priority will be creating and delivering new workshops for high school science teachers that complement existing professional development programs offered by the UW Science-Mathematics Teaching Center. He also will begin to explore opportunities to collaborate with colleagues across campus, including the College of Arts and Science and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, on grant proposals that support common science education research, policy, and programming goals.
"I am excited that we have been able to attract a person with Dr. Slater's credentials to this endowed chair position," College of Education Dean Patricia McClurg says. "He brings a solid record of exemplary teaching, working both with students preparing to be teachers and professional development programs for teachers in the field.
"Dr. Slater's record of securing extramural funding is equally impressive," McClurg adds. "He is a prolific author with publications appearing in respected journals and books and the author of multiple papers presented in national professional conferences. I am looking forward to Dr. Slater's arrival and to the impact he will have on our programs both on campus and throughout the state."
The Wyoming State Legislature established an endowment in 2005 that included $70 million to create at UW senior faculty positions for "highly distinguished scholars and teachers."
The legislation specifies that at least four faculty positions made possible by the endowment will be in the College of Education. James Baumann joined the education faculty in the fall 2007 semester, as the first recipient of the Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education.