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Jim Kisiel, PhD brings a breadth of experiences in research, evaluation, and education to Slover Linett. His strong background in both science (MS in Chemistry, UCLA) and education (PhD in Education, USC), coupled with his experiences as a high school science teacher and museum educator, provide a unique perspective on the roles of schools and cultural institutions in our learning landscape. His initial evaluation experiences were as educational evaluator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Jim is currently an associate professor at California State University, Long Beach where he has been a productive member of the science education department since 2003. His instructional experiences at the university include teaching pre-service elementary and secondary school science teachers. Shortly after his arrival at the university, he developed a new option for the Masters program—one designed for local informal science educators, such as those working in museums, aquariums, nature centers and the like.
Much of Jim’s research has examined the juxtaposition of formal and informal environments, examining the opportunities and constraints in collaborative activities ranging from field trips to more formal school-museum partnerships. He has also conducted a variety of research and evaluation studies examining different learners in informal contexts. These include: clarifying adult museum-goers’ understanding of fossils and evolution, identifying family learning behaviors in aquarium touch tanks, and examining identity development of Latina college students engaged in a museum-based paleontology internship. Although much of his work features qualitative methodology, his familiarity with survey development provides opportunities for effective mixed-method approaches.
Jim continues to be an active member of the Visitor Studies Association, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and regularly presents at these and other national meetings, including the American Evaluation Association, the American Educational Research Association, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Association for Science and Technology Centers.