This year, Professor John Howard Falk, Oregon State University, USA, was selected for award recognition for the 2016 NARST Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award.
The purpose of this award is to recognize scholars who have made continuing contributions to, provided notable leadership in, and had substantial impact on, science education through their research over a period of at least 20 years. This is the single most prestigious award and highest honor that can be bestowed by NARST on scholars in the field of science education.
Dr. John Howard Falk has made distinguished contributions to science education throughout his four-decade career. His scholarship, research, and continuous leadership have focused on learning science outside the classroom where learners of all ages engage in free-choice learning. His two major lines of research, empirical investigations of the impact of free-choice science learning on individuals and communities and an accompanying commitment to address methodological issues in the field have contributed significantly to establishing the field of learning in informal environments as an important domain of research nationally and internationally.
John Howard Falk has made distinguished and continuing contributions to science education through research by his numerous publications in a variety of outlets for diverse audiences including in the most premier peer-reviewed journals such as Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. His seven books in field are cited extensively, especially his seminal book Learning From Museums: Visitor Experiences and Making of Meaning, co-authored by Lynn Dierking. His methodological tool “Personal Meaning Mapping “ has been widely used in the field. His notable leadership includes significant positions in NARST including elected member of the Executive Board and in higher education, where he holds professorships on multiple continents. Finally, his substantial impact is evidenced by his considerable funding awards by the National Science Foundation to conduct his investigations in the field, and his numerous invitations to advise governmental agencies and informal science institutions. For all of these reasons, Dr. John Howard Falk is a most deserving recipient of the 2016 NARST Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award.
Since 1928, NARST has promoted research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by the research. The ultimate goal of NARST is to help all learners achieve science literacy. NARST promotes this goal by: 1) encouraging and supporting the application of diverse research methods and theoretical perspectives from multiple disciplines to the investigation of teaching and learning in science; 2) communicating science education research findings to researchers, practitioners, and policy makers; and 3) cooperating with other educational and scientific societies to influence educational policies.