McComas Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

November 21, 2016

William F. McComas
William F. McComas

University of Arkansas Professor William F. McComas has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The honor is bestowed by peers in recognition of work deemed scientifically or socially significant.

McComas is the inaugural holder of the Parks Family Endowed Professorship in Science Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Health Professions. McComas directs the Project to Advance Science Education.

“Being elected a Fellow in a major scientific society such as AAAS is a wonderful honor for an educator, and is particularly appropriate as it recognizes that scientific discovery and education are inexorably intertwined,” McComas said. “We in science education are charged with translating the work of those engaged in scientific research to inform classroom teachers at all levels, help prepare the next generation of scientists, and assist in communicating the results of science to enlighten the public and inform decision-makers.” 

Michael T. Miller, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, said, “This is an incredible honor for Bill, and one that he richly deserves. Bill has earned tremendous respect from his faculty colleagues in the college, and this honor is a reflection of the respect he has from his colleagues nationally. His election is not a surprise to us; it is something he has earned.”

McComas was selected as Fellow as part of the AAAS Education Section for his “distinguished contributions to science education through the preparation of future teachers and researchers, service to biology education as a journal editor and evolution advocate.”

While at the University of Arkansas, McComas has developed and currently teaches classes in educational research methods, the history and philosophy of science for science educators, issues in science education, advanced science teaching methods and The Darwin Course, a highly interdisciplinary exploration of the implications of evolution for honors undergraduates with contributions by 11 U of A professors. 

He is also the director for the Professoriate, a campuswide program sponsored by the U of A Graduate School designed to assist doctoral students in securing positions and earning tenure and promotion in higher education institutions.

McComas has served in leadership roles with the National Science Teachers Association, the International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group, the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Association for Science Teacher Education. He is currently editor of the journal, The American Biology Teacher.

His work in the philosophy of science has resulted in several books including The Scopes Monkey Trial, published by Arcadia Publishing for its “Images of America” series, and The Nature of Science in Science Education: Rationales and Strategies published by Springer due out in a new edition by the end of 2017. 

McComas will attend an induction ceremony for new Fellows on Feb. 18 during the AAAS Fellows Forum at the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. There he will be presented with the official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin designating his status as a Fellow.

About the AAAS: The American Association for the Advancement of Science, founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal Science. It includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science and serves 10 million individuals. This year, the association recognized 391 new Fellows. They are nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three Fellows, or by the association’s chief executive officer.

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