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Dec. 17, 2002

ULM Associate Dean receives prestigious award

Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Dr. Eric Pani, recently received the William W. Craig Outstanding University Educator Award by the Louisiana Science Teachers Association. The award was instituted this year to honor the memory of the late Dr. William W. Craig, Professor of Geology at the University of New Orleans.

Pani was nominated for this award through a packet put together by his colleagues. In the packet are five letters of recommendation for the award and several examples of Pani's dedication to education.

Part of the nomination information reads, "Dr. Eric Pani exemplifies the ideal university scientist for the 21st century. He is nationally respected for his research and publications in the field of atmospheric science. But here in Louisiana he is most highly regarded for his outstanding leadership in the movement towards standards-based science teaching at the K-16 level".

It continues to say, "Always on the cutting edge of professional development ideas, Eric continues to develop new programs to serve the changing professional development needs of area teachers. Most recently, Dr. Pani has been involved in an innovative program that is part of the LaSIP/LINCS project. This project called I3, integrates science, mathematics, and English language arts instruction around an inquiry-based science curriculum. Working from that belief that for teachers to teach inquiry, they must have done it, this program involved teams of in-service teachers in real scientific research with faculty mentors. Included on each team was a pre-service education major. Although both the idea of integrated instruction and the program are new to the area, the response to it has been outstanding. The popularity of this program is an indication of the quality that is associated with any professional development endeavors in which Eric is involved."

Pani has received several awards for his contributions to the University and has dedicated much of his time to the education of K-12 students and educators. Pani has succeeded in securing funding for six professional development projects in science from the Louisiana Systematic Initiatives Program and DRSI. He also has participated in a number of statewide projects and headed up studies by LaSIP. Pani has served on the Blue Ribbon Commission and was involved in the redesign of undergraduate teacher preparation programs in the state.

"He is knowledgeable about his teaching and research fields and latest trends in K-16 science education, " said Faimon Roberts, LaSIP Assistant Director for Science.

"The teachers with whom he has worked have found him to be energetic and easy to work with," said Roberts.

Tallulah Science Facilitator Ann Powell wrote in her nomination letter that she truly believes that you will not find anyone who better exemplifies what a college teacher should be if you are looking for someone who has really set science education on fire.

Dr. Pani has made many contributions to several areas of education. Some examples are:

*Yearly Presentations at LSTA and NSTA

*Project Director and/or instruction of LaSIP projects that serve(d) LSTA members

*Increased membership in LTSA due to his services

*Conducted, published, and presented educational research on: effects of standards-based instruction on student attitude, cognitive development of teachers, misconceptions, and attitudes about teaching.

*Actively involved in K-12 science classrooms across North Louisiana

*Principal Investigator of grants for teacher professional development

*Provider of teacher professional development for organizations such as American Meteorological Society, Geology Society of America, Howard Hughes Institute.

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