Press Release: Kenneth Tobin Receives NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholars Award

CUNY Graduate Center Professor Kenneth Tobin has been awarded The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS), the foundation's highest honor for teaching and research excellence. A Presidential Professor in The Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in Urban Education, Professor Tobin was one of eight leading scholars to be presented with this year’s award.

An honorarium worth about $300,000 to each recipient over the next four years, the Distinguished Teaching Scholars awards represent NSF's finest examples of accomplishments by scientists and engineers whose roles as educators and mentors are as important as the ground-breaking research results they achieve. The grants allow the scholars to work on new projects, or continue present work in new ways that benefit their individual fields and the students they support. Other recipients include: Alice M. Agogino, University of California, Berkeley; Susan E. Powers, Clarkson University; David F. Ollis, North Carolina State University; Thomas W. Banchoff, Brown University; Dean A. Zollman, Kansas State University; Julio J. Ramirez, Davidson College; and Walter C. Oechel, San Diego State University.

Professor Tobin has been internationally recognized for his work in urban education, including far-reaching ethnographic research and the study of how teachers interact with students in a class. He also developed an assessment tool, the Test of Logical Thinking, to help identify students who may benefit from less abstract forms of learning. Tobin's focus on improving the education of science teachers and providing them with increased practical applications of research for classroom use has garnered him several other major education research and teaching awards, including the Outstanding Science Teacher Educator Award of the Year Award, presented by the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science.

Professor Tobin was appointed professor in the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education at The Graduate Center in the fall of 2003. His book At the Elbow of Another: Learning to Teach Through Coteaching (with W. M. Roth) won a 2002 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, his experience as a teacher educator is deeply grounded in science, as well as in the social science of education. Over the past five years, his research has focused on the teaching of science in urban high schools to predominantly African American students. Professor Tobin came to The Graduate Center from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was professor of education and director of teacher education. He began his career as a science teacher in Australian junior and senior high schools.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. The only consortium of its kind in the nation, the school draws its faculty of more than 1,600 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges and cultural and scientific institutions throughout New York City. According to the most recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions.

Submitted on: JUN 1, 2004

Category: Distinguished Professor Appointments, Faculty Awards, Press Room