The two-page, monthly section--a joint effort with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), directed by Science's Editorial unit--will showcase peer-reviewed research, as well as scholarly literature reviews, essays and other original content on science education for all students, but especially for those at undergraduate and graduate levels. New science-education content in Science will debut early in 2006.
Donald Kennedy, Science's editor-in-chief, said the partnership reflects the AAAS mission to advance science and serve society, as well as HHMI's long-standing efforts to enhance science education through such programs as the "HHMI Professor" awards, which provide $1 million, four-year grants to accomplished researchers who want to develop innovative approaches to undergraduate science instruction.
In an editorial being published 16 December in Science, Kennedy and HHMI President Thomas R. Cech describe the plight of Kate, a promising student in high-school science classes who soon becomes a business major after attending large, impersonal, lecture-style university science courses. The number of doctorate degrees in science and engineering granted by U.S. universities increased 45 percent from 1974 to 2004, but most of the increase came from awards to non-U.S. citizens, Kennedy and Cech note, citing National Science Foundation data. "Clearly," they conclude, "something is turning Kate and her classmates away from careers in science."
Because HHMI would like to make it easier for great teaching to happen at all levels, the Institute is interested in wider circulation of innovations in science education," said Thomas R. Cech, HHMI president. "A regular section in Science devoted to science education should contribute greatly to this goal."
Much depends on successful science education, noted Pamela Hines, the senior Science editor in charge of the new content. "Effective science education, both for experts and for the general public, promotes innovations that can improve our lives and expand our knowledge," she said. "Not surprisingly, many Science readers invest heavily in the teaching aspects of their service as professional scientists. Our new section will spotlight advances in education research, as well as interesting efforts in science education, to promote productive scholarly and public discourse on teaching and learning."
Science editors are particularly interested in science education content focusing on the undergraduate and graduate levels, Hines said. But, she added, "Interesting research on education in the kindergarten through high-school years also will be considered."
Specifically, the Science-HHMI collaboration identifies the following categories of science-education articles as being of potential interest for the new section:
- Collaborative research efforts between academic scientists and undergraduate students;
- New, innovative exercises or experiments for teaching laboratories, fieldwork or "virtual" settings;
- Novel teaching methods, including details on their development and evidence of their effectiveness;
- Theoretical or review articles on the science of learning, based on scientific advances in such fields as neuroscience;
- New technologies or protocols for assessing student learning;
- Analyses of the relationships between teaching styles and different institutional settings;
- Novel outreach programs linking university science units with secondary or elementary-school students; and
- Archives of information on instructional aids, products, textbooks and more.
Articles should be under 2,000 words in length (with two figures), and must represent material not previously published. Manuscripts should be submitted online at http://www.
Advisors on the new education pages in Science, reporting to Kennedy and Cech, will be Peter Bruns of HHMI; Marcia C. Linn of the University of California-Berkeley; Richard Losick of Harvard University; Lee S. Shulman of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Carl Weiman of the University of Colorado at Boulder; and Katrina Kelner and Pamela Hines of Science.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848 and reports some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The nonprofit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org), the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. HHMI grounds its research programs on the conviction that scientists of exceptional talent and imagination will make fundamental contributions of lasting scientific value and benefit to mankind when given the resources, time, and freedom to pursue challenging questions. The Institute prizes intellectual daring and seeks to preserve the autonomy of its scientists as they pursue their research. A nonprofit medical research organization, HHMI was established in 1953 by the aviator-industrialist. The Institute, headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is one of the largest philanthropies in the world with an endowment of $14.8 billion at the close of its 2005 fiscal year. HHMI spent $483 million in support of biomedical research and $80 million for support of a variety of science education and other grants programs in fiscal 2005.