Southeast Faculty Member Receives Distinguished Service Award for Science Education



March 5, 2007 – Dr. Sharon Coleman, director of the Linda Godwin Center for Science and Mathematics Education at Southeast Missouri State University, received the Distinguished Service Award for Science Education Feb. 25 at the Science Teachers of Missouri (STOM) conference held at the Lake of the Ozarks, Mo.

STOM is a statewide chapter of the National Science Teachers Association. STOM promotes the advancement of science education for teachers of science and their students in Missouri.

Science Teachers of Missouri representatives recognized Dr. Coleman, saying “the dedication and outstanding effort that you have made to advance science education in Missouri are phenomenal. Science Teachers of Missouri feels that you have made a significant difference for the Missouri students and teachers, and (we) are honored to recognize your service.”

“I was pleasantly surprised and absolutely shocked to receive this award,” Coleman said. “As a person who enjoys – and prefers – to work behind the scenes, I’m not one to seek the limelight.  I believe the real heroes are the public school teachers in the classroom who maintain their enthusiasm for teaching, regardless of the many obstacles they face and the long hours they endure.”

Coleman discussed her ongoing pursuits in science education.

“Teachers who seek out new methods and ways to reach their students are my inspiration and my reason for doing what I do,” she said. “I am constantly amazed to see teachers do wonders in situations with little support, sometimes monetarily, sometimes administratively, sometimes in other ways.  Thus, over the years I have felt privileged to have been able to contribute and, perhaps, help in a small way.  The irony of this is that I always learn more from the teachers than I probably think they learn from me.”

Coleman is quick to credit colleagues who have encouraged her and set examples for her.

“I owe my adventures in this educational walk to those who came before me,” she said. “My buddies, former Instructor of Chemistry Lester Leaton and Professor of Geosciences Ernie Kern taught me the ropes as well as the value and satisfaction in doing science education.”

Coleman has been employed by Southeast for 25 years, working on teacher enhancement and development. She has taught workshops in several states for Operation Chemistry. During the 2004-2005 academic year, she designed, directed and taught Operation Physical Science workshops. She has presented more than 30 presentations and more than 40 workshops at local, state, national and international professional meetings including at Interface, the American Chemical Society, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Association for the Education of Teachers in Science and National Science Teachers Association. Coleman has received more than 30 grants dedicated to improving science teaching and learning.