The University of Western Australia will offer a new Masters in Science Communication and Education for the first time next year in a bid to ease the State’s shortage of high-quality science teachers.
At the launch of the new course today by WA’s Chief Scientist, Professor Lyn Beazley, UWA’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) Robyn Owens said the course would provide a much-needed boost to the education sector in Australia.
“Not only are fewer students choosing to study science, fewer students are electing to become science teachers. Recent research by the Deans of Science in Australian universities found that most schools surveyed had difficulty recruiting qualified teaching staff,” Professor Owens said.
“We’re confident that graduates of this new program will satisfy an urgent need for science graduates with a teaching qualification, as well as the ability to communicate clearly with diverse audiences.”
Course Director Dr Nancy Longnecker said the two year degree by coursework would be offered jointly by the Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences and Faculty of Education.
“By improving students’ motivation and attitude to science, more students are likely to select science for further study and to follow science-based careers, including science teaching,” she said.
“Graduates with a science communication degree on its own are equally well placed to work in informal education or public affairs of science organisations.
“Science communication training is also likely to increase the likelihood that Bachelor of Science graduates who are enthusiastic about science will remain in a career that enables them to share their enthusiasm for science, whether in the classroom or in some informal education role.
“The establishment of this new postgraduate course reflects The University of Western Australia’s commitment to responding to the needs of the WA and wider community,” Dr Longnecker said.
Dr Nancy Longnecker (Coordinator, Science Communication Courses) 61 8 6488 3926