Efforts to improve science education include university science departments hiring Science Faculty with Education Specialties (SFES), scientists who take on specialized roles in science education within their discipline. Although these positions have existed for decades and may be growing more common, few reports have investigated the SFES approach to improving science education. We present comprehensive data on the SFES in the California State University (CSU) system, the largest university system in the United States. We found that CSU SFES were engaged in three key arenas including K–12 science education, undergraduate science education, and discipline-based science education research. As such, CSU SFES appeared to be well-positioned to have an impact on science education from within science departments. However, there appeared to be a lack of clarity and agreement about the purpose of these SFES positions. In addition, formal training in science education among CSU SFES was limited. Although over 75% of CSU SFES were fulfilled by their teaching, scholarship, and service, our results revealed that almost 40% of CSU SFES were seriously considering leaving their positions. Our data suggest that science departments would likely benefit from explicit discussions about the role of SFES and strategies for supporting their professional activities.


This is the publisher’s PDF version of: Bush, S. D., Pelaez, J., Rudd, J. A., II, Stevens, M. T., Tanner, K. D., & Williams, K. S. (2010). Investigation of Science Faculty with Education Specialties within the Largest University System in the United States. CBE – Life Sciences Education, 10(1), 25-42, and is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.10-08-0106.

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