Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Staunch Oklahoma Defender of Separation Receives Academic Honor

Dr. Hutchison has been given the "Jack Renner Distinguished Service to
Oklahoma Science Education Award" by the Oklahoma Science Teachers

Here's the announcement from the OSTA website.

2011 OSTA Awards – Jack Renner Distinquished Service to Oklahoma
Science Education Award

Dr. John W. “Jack” Renner taught science education at OU from
1962-1988, His work on the Learning Cycle in the 1970′s lead to its
use as foundation for the Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS)
and the Full Option Science System (FOSS). The Learning Cycle
approach and it’s underlying teaching philosophy of constructivism
shows itself today in the inquiry approach defined by the National
Science Education Standards (NSES) and the process skill development
required by our own Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS). Jack was
recognized for his contributions by NSTA with the Robert H. Carleton
Award, which annually recognizes one individual who has made
outstanding contributions to, and provided leadership in, science
education at the national level and to NSTA in particular. It is
NSTA’s highest honor. In like manner, the Jack Renner Award is OSTA’s
highest honor given each year to a person or organization in
recognition for significant contributions to science education in

This year, we honor Dr. Victor Hutchinson, George Lynn Cross Research
Professor emeritus for the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Hutchinson’s
list of accomplishments is long and varied. A retired Colonel in the
Army Reserve, a fellow in the American Academy for the Advancement of
Science, a member of the American Institute of Biological Sciences,
holder of leadership positions in the American Society of
Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, author or co-author for nearly 150
peer reviewed scientific papers, supervisor for 28 PhD’s … The list
goes on and on and Dr. Hutchinson has had a very full and active
career as a research scientist and University professor.

But our story goes back to the dark days of 1999 when members of the
state textbook committee attempted to introduce creationist textbook
disclaimers into any textbook used in Oklahoma that discussed
Evolution. I attended those hearings and so did Vic Hutchinson and
through his efforts and those of others the disclaimers did not make
it into law. But from that experience was born Oklahomans for
Excellence in Science Education, founded by Vic with a small group of
educators, scientists, theologians, laypersons, and persons interested
in maintaining the constitutional separation of church and state.
There have been political efforts every year since 1999 to inject
religion into public schools and diminish or prohibit the teaching of
evolution in Oklahoma science classrooms. And every attempt has been
met by Dr. Hutchinson and his colleagues in OESE. He is a tireless
advocate for quality science education in our public schools, a
regular representative on our behalf in the halls of the legislature,
and is a frequent speaker to school and civic groups as well as a
commentator on radio and television. He maintains the Oklahoma
Evolution listserv, and the OESE website has become a treasure-trove
of resources about evolution, evolution education, and science and
religion. OESE also sponsors a number of education efforts and by
leveraging grants and donations, has made a Teachers Evolution
Workshop available to Oklahoma teachers for each of the last six
years. His efforts in this realm have been recognized by the Oklahoma
Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, with
their Constitutional Heritage Award, by the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance
with their Award for Science Education and Anti-creationism Efforts,
the National Center for Science Education, Friend of Darwin Award and
now by the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association with the Jack Renner
Distinguished Service to Oklahoma Science Education Award – Bob Melton


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