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Education professor Ault named Outstanding University Educator by Oregon Academy of Science

March 03, 2010

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Professor of Education Kip Ault was named the 2010 Outstanding University Educator by the Oregon Academy of Science (OAS), an organization that promotes research and education in the hard and social sciences in Oregon. Ault was recognized during an annual meeting of the OAS that celebrates contributions by outstanding university and K-12 educators demonstrating dedication to the advancement of science education.

Once an elementary school teacher, Ault earned his doctorate in science and environmental education at Cornell and now teaches future teachers in effective science education at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.

As he trains the next generation of educators, Ault frequently emphasizes the value of field studies, appreciation of nature, and the interpretation of local landscapes. Graduate School Dean Scott Fletcher remarked on Ault’s long commitment to teaching teachers and his passion for connecting science education to the outdoors.

“Kip’s contributions to science education include three decades of work preparing outstanding teachers for the science classroom, groundbreaking scholarship on topics ranging from geoscience to sense of place, and an unremitting commitment to connecting the classroom and the field through authentic inquiry,” Fletcher said. “Kip has pursued this work in many venues, from the classrooms of Rogers Hall at Lewis & Clark to the jungles of Costa Rica, with a recent trip down the Grand Canyon thrown in for good measure.”

Beyond the classroom, Ault also serves as the director of outreach for a $1.3 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant, which the college received in 2008. In part, the grant is designed to reach high school students from under-served schools with exceptional hands-on science programming.

Watch Ault and his colleagues at work with students in this video of a trip to the Paleo Lands in eastern Oregon.

In addition to this teaching and programmatic work, Ault is a prolific researcher and writer with numerous scholarly articles, including a published paper in American Paleontologist that he co-authored with his son, Toby. The article, titled “On the Trail of Darwin’s Megabeasts,” recounts the Aults’ efforts to retrace Darwin’s steps and mimic his process of asking locals where to look.
Of the 2003 trek, Ault said, “We found ourselves guided by a motorcyclist, museum scientists, as well as Darwin’s journal, as we crossed Patagonia, with particular emphasis on the Rio Negro’s Playa Bonita and the Monte Hermoso beach near Punta Alta.”

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