Upon the recommendation of the Faculty Awards Committee, I am delighted to announce that Professor Kathy Norman of the College of Education is the recipient of the 2009-2010 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor. The Faculty Awards Committee concluded, and I wholeheartedly concur, that Dr. Norman's exemplary teaching, research, and service record honor this award. A great university begins with great faculty, with professors who are dedicated to scholarly excellence and devoted to the success of their students, and Dr. Norman is a shining example of that.
Dr. Norman's commitment to and impact on the educational community and the development of high quality science teachers is evident in the ways she has advanced the scholarly dialogue within her field, from college and university circles to the broader conversations found in community, state, national and international arenas.
Dr. Norman is an international leader in Inclusive Science Education, with research, publications and work with public school teachers on science instruction for marginalized populations, particularly students with disabilities. She states that her teaching philosophy includes the following themes: supporting equity and inclusion for all students through active learning experiences, building on students' strengths, integrating the arts to enhance learning and creativity, and encouraging and assisting students from marginalized populations. Thus she views science as a great equalizer in that educators may not be able to tell which students are English learners, which students have special needs, and which students are gifted because they all work together and participate in active science learning experiences.
She is an extremely passionate teacher with a unique ability to help students overcome their fear and dislike of science. Her colleagues in the College of Education refer to her as the "heart" of the science faculty and state that she is "not only an incredibly talented and passionate teacher, but also an outstanding science educator." Her students admire her ability to instill in them an enduring appreciation of science education.
One of her students commented, "After taking this class, my eyes have been opened to the limitless possibilities of being able to teach elementary science and, at the same time, creating an environment which is filled with opportunities for students to develop a real love for science."
Another student commented, "The way in which I have changed as a result of taking this class is that I am no longer scared of teaching science."
Dr. Norman is among the founding faculty of the Integrated Credential Program (ICP - the largest credential program in the College of Education), which combines the B.A. in Liberal Studies with the Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. She served as program director from 1997 to 2003 and 2007 to the present. She was also a catalyst for initiating and developing the Masters of Education in Science, Mathematics and Educational Technology for Diverse Populations. Furthermore, Dr. Norman has chaired and been a member of several national and regional Program Assessment and Accreditation Committees, including the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Dr. Norman's passion and innovation in teaching have reached beyond traditional classroom settings. Recently she developed several online courses that are infused with carefully crafted audios, videos and media sites which serve as community building exercises and information delivery systems. Most impressive is her development of a fully online graduate research course which she created after intense study and then modification of other exemplary models. As a result of her contribution to the field of science education, Dr. Norman has received several national honors and recognitions during her 13 years of service at CSUSM. She was awarded the Outstanding University Science Educator in San Diego County in 1999, the Exceptional Merit for Teaching, Research and Service in 1995, and was nominated for the Chancellor's Council Teaching Award in 1995 and North County Times Women of Merit Award in 1999.
Dr. Norman has been an exceptionally active scholar. She is considered a leader in developing innovative pedagogical methods and dynamic curriculum for inclusive science education, and she is an untiring advocate for K-12 school collaborations, university partnerships, and program development. She has published numerous articles and research reports in referred journals as well as professional newsletters. She has also crafted a series of science lessons for children and parents. Most recently, her scholarly contributions have moved towards integrating technology into science education. Her research includes comparing the effectiveness of face-to-face instruction to online instruction.
As a model of lifelong learning, Dr. Norman has continuously participated in professional development activities, including involvement in HERS summer institute for Women in Higher Education Administration, American Council on Education Regional Leadership Forum and Quantum Learning Education.
Dr. Norman's service to the University has been truly outstanding. She has taken on many challenging leadership roles at CSUSM and has chaired APC, NEAC, BLP, FAC and PAC. She is the COE program coordinator of the ICP program, has been a mentor in the mentoring program from 2002 to 2008, and has served as cohort advisor within the College of Education, and mentor to adjunct professors. Dr. Norman has also been a mentor to faculty members at Lincoln School DTiR on projects advancing science and writing.
One of Dr. Norman's colleagues highlighted her contributions well by stating, "Drawing upon her passion, her scholarly knowledge, her devotion to ensuring scholarly knowledge, her devotion to ensuring educational equality for diverse student populations (including students with special needs) and her commitment to cultivating student learning using collaboration with innovative pedagogical approaches (such as melding science and art), she succeeds semester after semester in transforming her students into future teachers who understand the importance of engaging children in scientific inquiry, and who now feel confident to bring scientific experimentation into their own classrooms."
Dr. Norman's student-centered teaching, thoughtful research, and leadership through service embody the values of the Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award. It is with great pleasure that I announce her selection for this prestigious award.