Perspectives Online

Ferzli and Godwin honored by National Academies

Dr. Miriam Ferzli and Dr. John R. Godwin of N.C. State University have each been named a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences for the current academic year. They were honored for their participation in the 2008 National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Madison, Wis. Ferzli is teaching assistant professor and Godwin is associate professor and participant in the W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, both in the Department of Biology in N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Ferzli holds a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry and a bachelor of arts degree in English, both from the University of Miami, as well as a master’s degree in biological sciences and Ph.D. in science education from N.C. State, where she was a post-doctoral Fellow in science education with the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. In her research she has sought to link science, writing and learning to the role scientific thinking and writing play in the conceptual understanding of science and technology. She was a 2007-2008 recipient of the College’s Outstanding Teacher Award.

Godwin holds a 1992 Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii. His research interests are in the areas of molecular endocrinology, neurobiology and behavior, with a primary focus on the mechanisms and evolution of animal behavior and sexuality. He is particularly interested in applying neurobiological and genomic approaches to problems in behavioral biology and behavioral evolution, using fishes as his primary models. A 1999-2000 CALS Outstanding Teacher Award winner, he is currently on scholarly leave for a year in Washington, D.C., serving as a program director in the Integrative Organismal Systems Division of the Biology Directorate at the National Science Foundation.

The National Academies are advisers to the nation on science, engineering and medicine. The Summer Institute, a result of a 2003 National Research Council report recommendation, fosters efforts to engage faculty at research-intensive institutions in taking greater responsibility for high-quality undergraduate biology education. The report emphasized the importance of new pedagogical approaches to teaching based on research about how people learn and a greater emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching. Teams from 22 research universities assembled for more than four days of presentations, intensive group work and other activities focused on enhancing undergraduate education.

Ralph J. Cicerone, chairman of the National Research Council, said that N.C. State’s participation in the Summer Institute placed the university “at the forefront of education reform that is so essential for educating both future scientists and scientifically literate citizens.”

—Terri Leith