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Cobern selected as a national science association fellow

Nov. 2, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Dr. William W. Cobern, director of Western Michigan University's Mallinson Institute for Science Education, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 376 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This year's AAAS Fellows were announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the Oct. 28 edition of the journal Science. New fellows will be honored at a February Fellows Forum held during the 2006 AAAS Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Mo.

Cobern was elected as an AAAS Fellow in the education section. He was cited "for distinguished contributions to science education through research on culture, philosophy and science and for the application of these to the concept of science literacy."

Cobern holds a joint appointment as a professor of both biological sciences and science education. Since coming to WMU in 1996, he has been a principal researcher in a number of science education initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation and the Michigan Department of Education.

He joined the WMU faculty as associate professor of science education and coordinator of the elementary school master's program. He also has served as associate dean of the College of Education. Prior to coming to the University, he held faculty positions in science education at Arizona State University, Austin College in Texas and Judson Baptist College in Oregon. He also has been a visiting professor at Curtin University of Technology in Australia, the University of Auckland in New Zealand and New College Berkeley in California as well as a visiting lecturer in Nigeria. Cobern also has served as a section editor for the journal Science Education.

A 1971 graduate of the University of California-San Diego, Cobern earned a master's degree from San Diego State University in 1975 and a doctoral degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1979.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by one of the steering groups of the association's 24 sections, or by any three fellows who are current AAAS members, as long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution. Fellows also may be nominated by the AAAS chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal, Science, which can be found online at www.sciencemag.org. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Its publication Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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