This year, Professor Lynn Diane Dierking, 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. Lynn Diane Dierking has made distinguished contributions to science education throughout her career. Over a three-decade period, her pioneering scholarship, research, and evaluation have focused on learning science in informal contexts. In examining Dr. Dierking’s record, it is clear that she has fostered a systematic research agenda, and in so doing, was a key individual in propelling this agenda to a global level. Her research agenda in free-choice science learning has shown the importance of such contexts in fostering lifelong learning in science, among youth and families in under-resourced communities.
Lynn Dierking has made distinguished and continuing contributions to science education through research by her numerous and highly cited peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and books. Along with co-author John Falk, she provided a theoretical framework for the field in the seminal book, Learning From Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning. Her notable leadership includes guest editorships of premier journal’s special issues on Informal Science Education, including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) and Science Education. She also spearheaded the creation of NARST’s Science Learning in Informal Contexts Strand. She has served as a member and chair of the NARST Dissertation Award Committee, on the JRST Editorial Board and similarly on numerous graduate students’ committees. Finally, her substantial impact includes contributions in global policy. Her involvement in the conceptualization of the National Science Teacher’s Association’s Research Agenda in Science Education (RAISE), the National Academies of Science’s 2009 consensus study volume, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits and accompanying 2010 practitioner volume clearly documents her impact in the field. For all of these reasons, Dr. Lynn Diane Dierking 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.