RICHLAND, Wash. – A Washington State University faculty member with a zeal for understanding how students learn has been named the state’s Higher Education Science Teacher of the Year.
WSU Associate Professor Judith Morrison received the 2011 award from the Washington Science Teachers Association at the group’s recent conference.
“Judy is well-known, well-respected and well-loved by the science teachers of Washington state,” wrote Martha J. Kurtz, chair of science education at Central Washington University in her nomination. “It is difficult to put down on paper the tangible energy and the feeling that Judy ‘has your back’ in support of science education, but that is the feeling you get when Judy is in the room.”
Morrison has taught in the WSU College of Education on the Tri-Cities campus since 2001. She teaches elementary science methods courses, as well as science education courses and action research courses. She also works with the Science Partnership Academy to provide research-based professional development for teachers throughout the state.
Whether she is teaching students or teachers, Morrison said, she counters the idea that science involves only memorizing lists of facts.
“I always try to emphasize the creative, problem-solving nature of science,” she said.
Morrison’s research focuses on students’ understanding of science concepts in the classroom. She also has begun to look at how teachers’ understanding of the nature of science is affected by collaboration with scientists.
Morrison serves on the board of directors of the Association for Science Teacher Education and is the organization’s Northwest region director. She has been a reviewer and presider for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and is a strong supporter of Teachers of Teachers of Science. She helped in development of the Tri-Cities’ new Delta High School, which emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Morrison received her doctorate from Oregon State University in science education and integrated science. She taught physical science, chemistry, advanced chemistry and advanced biology at the high school level for seven years.