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Harvard President Draws Fire for Comments Made about Women in Science

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers set off a firestorm last week when he commented on why fewer women succeed in the fields of science and math. He made remarks at an academic conference on women and minorities in the science and engineering workforce, which prompted one female participant in the audience to walk out. The comments drew retort from Harvard faculty, its student body, and beyond. More than 120 professors in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences sent Dr. Summers a rebuttal, the National Organization for Women called for his immediate dismissal, and a media frenzy has ensued since the Boston Globe initially reported the story.

Dr. Summers has apologized for his comments. In a letter posted on the Harvard University’s web site, he said “I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologize for not having weighed them more carefully. Despite reports to the contrary, I did not say, and I do not believe, that girls are intellectually less able than boys, or that women lack the ability to succeed at the highest levels of science.” To view Dr. Summer’s letter, go to http://www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/2005/womensci.html.

NSTA believes strongly that girls can and do succeed in science and should be supported fully in this endeavor. To spread this message, NSTA President Anne Tweed, along with astronaut Sally Ride and a science student from Harvard, conducted a live interview on ABC’s Top Priority news program on Friday, January 21, and has given comments to various other media outlets. To read an article in The New York Times about Dr. Summer’s apology, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/20/education/20harvard.html (Free registration is required). To view the NSTA position statement on Gender Equity, go to http://www.nsta.org/positionstatement&psid=37.

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A Dallas Convention Flyer for You to Read, Download, Print ‘n’ Post

Thousands of science educators will gather in Dallas from March 31 to April 3 for NSTA's 53rd National Convention, where they will find new knowledge, unique experiences, the latest "tools of the trade," new networking opportunities, and old acquaintances. And you can help us spread the word about the most exciting gathering of 2005! Go to http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/dallasflyer.pdf to download and print the full-color convention flyer, then post it in your school's faculty room. Don’t forget to look at both pages of the flyer, because you won’t want to miss the valuable coupons you can redeem when you attend this highly anticipated event. Thanks for your help. For full convention details and to register online, visit http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

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Attain Highly Qualified Status with JASON Academy Courses Online

If your New Year’s resolution includes adding to your repertoire of teaching strategies, gaining highly qualified status, updating your science content background, and/or improving your instructional techniques, you may want to consider enrollment in an online JASON Academy course. Teachers who have taken JASON Academy courses report gains in content knowledge, new strategies for teaching difficult concepts, greater access to resources, and improved skills in integrating technology into their instruction. The next session, offering the full range of JASON Academy online courses (including the brand new Cell Biology), begins on February 7. Students may earn up to three graduate credits per course and five CEUs. NSTA members receive a 10% discount on all Academy courses. Register today by going to http://www.jason.org/academy.

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NSTA/NASA Continues Live Online Seminars Tuesday and Wednesday—Register Free for Robotics and/or Astromaterials Events

Science educators are again invited to participate in free live web seminars presented by NSTA and NASA. Robotics will be offered on Tuesday, January 25, with NASA specialists providing current NASA science and activities. Astromaterials (rocks from space) will be offered on Wednesday, January 26. Both sessions will be presented at 7 p.m. EST and will focus on classroom application and use of the information presented. Participation is at no cost, as the seminars are funded through NASA Explorer Schools; all who log in to participate will receive a free gift for attending and will also be eligible for a prize giveaway at the conclusion of the web seminar. For additional information and to register, go to http://www.nsta.org/pd/institute.aspxseminar_reg.asp. For a complete list of NSTA Institute offerings, visit http://www.nsta.org/institute.

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WANTED: Field Editor for NSTA College Journal

NSTA is seeking candidates for a three-year appointment as Field Editor for the Journal of College Science Teaching. Ideal candidates are articulate, effective educators and team players—who know (or can easily connect with) others in the academic arena nationwide. For a full description of qualifications, stipend, term, and details for application, visit the NSTA Career Center at http://careers.nsta.org/job_detail.asp?jobid=178. Deadline for applications is March 1, 2005. To browse the NSTA Career Center for other science education positions or to post a job, go to http://careers.nsta.org.

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Take Your Students to Saturn

Follow the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and the recent landing on Titan where scientists report that “the first look at data from Huygens' descent and landing on Titan shows the Saturnian moon has Earth-like geophysical processes operating on exotic materials in very alien conditions.” Visit the NASA website (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html) for more information, and be sure to check out the special section for kids; it’s full of activities, stories, and key facts about the NASA mission.

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And Don't Forgetů

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