Professor receives science education association’s highest award

January 20, 2011 | News, UToday
By Ashley Traynum



Dr. Charlene Czerniak, professor of curriculum and instruction at The University of Toledo, got a head start in her science education growing up in the country. The initial exposure to animals and nature captured Czerniak’s attention, and science has been her passion ever since.

“From my parents and childhood, I developed an appreciation of science. Science is everywhere, and I want to instill that love of teaching science to other teachers,” Czerniak said.

For the past 32 years, Czerniak has worked in education, first as an elementary teacher and then at the collegiate level. Her achievement in the field recently was recognized by the School Science and Mathematics Association’s George G. Mallinson Distinguished Service Award.

The George G. Mallinson Award is the highest of the School Science and Mathematics Association and is presented to an educator in recognition of a lifetime level of teaching, service and research in science or mathematics.

“I am honored to receive the award and to be recognized nationally,” Czerniak said. “UT has supported my career for 22 years, so the award also recognizes The University of Toledo as a national leader in science and mathematics teacher education.”

Czerniak’s success goes beyond the classroom: authoring more than 50 articles and several books; serving as a national journal editor; being elected president of several national and international organizations, including the School Science and Mathematics Association and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching; and serving as the director of numerous large-scale federal grants, including a recent $5 million award from the National Science Foundation.

“Dr. Czerniak is perhaps the most successful grant writer at the University,” said Dr. Tom Brady, dean of the Judith Herb College of Education. “She has secured grants totaling $21 million during the past 10 years that have allowed UT to become a leader in educating science teachers. And she teaches a highly successful grant-writing class that helps educate other faculty and students to successfully compete for federal and state grants.”

Czerniak currently has two National Science Foundation grants, including a $5 million grant focusing on teaching educators about project-based science centered on renewable energy topics and a $1 million grant to recruit, prepare, and retain science and mathematics teachers for urban schools.

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