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Professor honored with national science education award

By Lauren A. Lamb
University News Service
February 9, 2009

Sandra West Moody

Sandra West Moody

 

For the past 18 years, Texas State University-San Marcos professor Sandra West Moody has been working to ensure the safety of students in science classrooms throughout the United States.

Because of her contributions to student safety, Moody was recently named the recipient of the National Science Education Leadership Association’s 2009 Outstanding Leader in Science Education award.

She began teaching at Texas State in 1990 and started conducting research on the safety of science classrooms in Texas just a year later. The study has yielded numerous findings which have had a lasting impact on how science classrooms are constructed and utilized throughout the nation.

“I am humbled and honored to have received this honor that has been given out to educators for the last 30 years,” said Moody.  

“My findings on safety in science classrooms led to significant changes which are now enforced by the Texas Education Agency,” she said. “The new requirements have resulted in safer and more effective science labs and classrooms.” 

According to Moody, her work on overcrowding and safety in science classrooms and labs is the only of its kind in the U.S. The research, she said, has uncovered some problematic trends in schools. In surveys she has conducted, Moody found that teachers reported a 35 percent decrease in support from their administrators when they are faced with misbehaved students in a science classroom or lab. Moody also discovered that only 50 percent of school districts provided science safety training to educators last year.

“My research plays a major role in my leadership activities and in my ability to impact state and national policy,” said Moody. Her findings have also been incorporated into policies upheld by the National Science Teachers Association.

Moody will be honored at a banquet hosted by NSELA in New Orleans on March 18. She will also receive $1,000 from Pearson Publishing as an appreciation for her work.