Sep 25 2014

Two faculty members making significant contributions to science and mathematics education in Puget Sound schools and at the national level have been appointed to endowed positions at the University of Washington College of Education. Dr. Philip Bell has been appointed to the Shauna C. Larson Chair in Learning Sciences and Dr. Elham Kazemi was appointed to the Geda and Phil Condit Professorship in Science & Math Education.

Deborah McCutchen, interim dean of the College, said the professors' research and service will continue to improve science and math learning for innumerable students and create new pedagogical models to support practicing teachers.

"The work being done by Dr. Kazemi and Dr. Bell exemplifies the College of Education's commitment to preparing outstanding teachers, particularly in poverty-impacted schools," McCutchen said. "They are making an impact on the quality of education students in the Seattle area receive, and they are leading national conversations about how to best teach math and science informed by knowledge of how students learn."

Bell, who joined the College's faculty in 1998, has made substantive contributions to science education and the emerging methodological field of design-based research. He is executive director of the UW Institute for Science & Math Education, which concentrates on equity-focused innovation in K-12 STEM education, and co-director of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center, a National Science Foundation-funded Science of Learning Center.

Bell pursues a cognitive and cultural program of research across diverse environments focused on how people learn in ways that are personally consequential to them. He has studied everyday expertise and cognition in science and health, the design and use of novel learning technologies in science classrooms, youth argumentation, culturally expansive science instruction, and scaled implementation of educational improvement. Bell served as a member of the Board on Science Education with the National Academy of Sciences for eight years, co-chaired the National Research Council consensus report effort on Learning Science in Informal Environments and served on the committee of the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education that was used to guide development of Next Generation Science Standards.

Kazemi joined the College in 1999 and has positioned her research at the nexus of teacher learning and student learning. She is co-director of INSPIRE (Innovations in Professional Improvement and Redesigns in Education), the College's new effort to collaborate with local partners in the design of innovative ways for schools and districts to organize professional learning. INSPIRE focuses in particular on improving classroom practices and the quality of education at poverty-impacted schools. The initiative launched in the summer of 2014 with its first Teacher and Leader Academy for educators from nine Seattle area schools.

A former elementary school teacher, Kazemi is co-author of Intentional Talk: How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussions. She serves as the College's associate dean of professional learning, and has collaborated with teams of mathematics educators, practitioners and leaders to design innovative professional learning experiences that create vibrant intellectual communities for students and teachers.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications