Michael Barnett of Boston College named Professor of the Year for Massachusetts

November 20, 2012

Boston College Lynch School of Education Associate Professor of Science Education and Technology G. Michael Barnett has been named the 2012 Massachusetts Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in recognition of his teaching excellence and positive influence on the lives and careers of students. It is the only national program that recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Barnett's focus is on urban science education, specifically exciting undergraduates and the youngsters they student teach about STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields through projects that utilize technology and link to real-world issues.

In his teaching, Barnett uses innovative tools such as indoor hydroponic vertical farms where BC undergraduates work with their K-12 students to grow vegetables and then sell the produce at their own farmer's markets. Through the project, which takes the participants from seed to market, his students learn about topics such as environmental science, engineering, botany, nutrition, sustainability and economics. Barnett has set up vertical farms in Boston elementary schools, high schools and a community center.

This month, he launched a National Science Foundation-funded indoor hydroponic gardening youth initiative in partnership with the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Dorchester and the non-profit STEM Garden Institute. The out-of-school project will serve hundreds of middle and high school students in Boston.

"I try to get everybody excited about science, from K-12 students to college students to the general public," said Barnett.

A self-described "recovering astrophysicist" from Kentucky, Barnett caught the teaching bug when he was tapped to teach a lesson about the moon to "immensely inquisitive fifth-graders" while he was working on his PhD in astrophysics.

Barnett says he is always looking for ways to engage students. "You have to reach students where they are," he said. This philosophy has led him and his research team to develop a mobile app called "Touch Tree" that allows users to identify trees and their ecological value.

"Rock star" and "the most genuinely inspiring role model of effective instruction" are just some of the words students used to describe Barnett in his nomination papers.

"[Professor Barnett] loves educating people on how to teach science. A self-proclaimed technical geek, he consistently encourages his students to find way to put new technologies in the hands of their students, including some that I have incorporated in my high school classroom," wrote former student Andrew Trossello who now teaches chemistry and biology at a Boston high school.

His teaching is about more than teaching future science teachers. He wants to get non-science majors interested in learning about science. "If I can get non-science majors interested in how science works and want to read the New York Times Science section, then I consider that a success," Barnett added.
-end-
Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

CASE

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.

Boston College

Related Education Articles from Brightsurf:

Applying artificial intelligence to science education
A new review published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching highlights the potential of machine learning--a subset of artificial intelligence--in science education.

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.

How can education researchers support education and public health and institutions during COVID-19?
As education researchers' ongoing work is interrupted by school closures, what can they do to support education and public health institutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

The new racial disparity in special education
Racial disparity in special education is growing, and it's more complex than previously thought.

Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US
A first-of-its-kind study estimate the economic value of education for better health and longevity.

How education may stave off cognitive decline
Prefrontal brain regions linked to higher educational attainment are characterized by increased expression of genes involved in neurotransmission and immunity, finds a study of healthy older adults published in JNeurosci.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.

Read More: Education News and Education Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.