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An ‘Academy’ Award for Science Education

The Oregon Academy of Science, an organization that promotes research and education in the hard and social sciences, named Professor of Education Kip Ault its 2010 Outstanding University Educator.

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’s 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.

“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,” says Scott Fletcher, dean of the graduate school. “Kip has pursued this work in many venues, from the classrooms of Rogers Hall 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 underserved schools with exceptional hands-on science programming.

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 coauthored 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.

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