Sunday, May 29, 2011

Should the Culture of University Science Education Be Changed?

Some blog followers might be interested in a talk 

“Should the Culture of University Science Education Be Changed? ” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:

In a recent Science article “Changing the Culture of Science Education at Research Universities” [Anderson et al. (2011) at], thirteen biology research scientists, all Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellows, deplore the prevalent university reward systems that “heavily weight efforts of many professors toward research at the expense of teaching.” They advocate seven initiatives that might help to address “widespread concern about educating enough scientists and scientifically literate citizens.”

Of primary concern in this talk is Initiative #1: “Educate faculty about research on learning. . . .” This is especially important if faculty are to play a prominent role in adequately educating prospective K-12 teachers, who might then, in turn, enhance the science/math literacy of the general population.

In that regard, I review an essay “The General Population’s Ignorance of Science Related Societal Issues: A Challenge for the University” [Hake (2000)] based on an earlier libretto The Science Illiteracy Crisis: A Challenge for the University [Hake (1989)], with the leitmotiv: “The road to U.S. science literacy begins with effective university science courses for precollege teachers.”

The opera dramatizes the fact that the failure of universities throughout the universe to properly educate pre-college teachers is responsible for our failure to observe any signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. 

To access the complete 3.2 MB talk please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by and accessed on 29 May 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011. Invited talk, “Should the Culture of University Science Education Be Changed?” Southern California Section of the AAPT, 14 May 2011, Pierce College, Woodland Hills, CA; online as a 3.2 MB pdf at and as reference #63 at

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