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Biology Professor Singer Accepts NSF Leadership Role

January 29, 2013 at 10:44 am

Susan Singer, the Laurence McKinley Gould Professor of the Natural Sciences at Carleton College, will take a leave of absence from the College to serve as the director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE).

The NSF’s DUE, housed within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, sets undergraduate science education goals to provide leadership, support curriculum development, prepare the workforce and to foster connections. These goals constitute a comprehensive approach to strengthening science, technology and math (STEM) education at two- and four-year colleges and universities by improving curricula, instruction, laboratories, infrastructure, assessment, diversity of students and faculty, and collaborations.

Singer, who earned her undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, arrived at Carleton in 1986. Her leadership positions at Carleton include a stint as director of Carleton’s Perlman Learning and Teaching Center from 2000-03 and as co-director of the Carleton Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative from 2005-06. Additionally, she was the biology department chair from 1995-98.

“Professor Singer has long been a leader in improving STEM education, at all levels,” said Beverly Nagel, Carleton’s Dean of the College and the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Sociology, Science, Technology and Society. “Being named to this post is a well-deserved honor and recognition for her leadership in this area, and will give Professor Singer an excellent opportunity to help shape undergraduate STEM education nationally.”

“While we will miss her presence here on campus, her work at NSF will benefit students at Carleton, as well as elsewhere,” Nagel added. “I am delighted that she was named to this post, and look forward to the outcomes of her work there.”

A developmental biologist who also does research on learning in genomics, Singer is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow and received both the American Society of Plant Biology teaching award and Botanical Society of America Charles Bessey teaching award. She was an NSF program officer in biology, and is a co-author of the report and an introductory biology text.

She serves on numerous boards, including the NSF EHR advisory committee, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study Board, and the Botanical Society board of directors; is a member-at-large for the AAAS Education Section; participates in the Minnesota Next Generation Science Standards team; and was a member of the National Academies’ Board on Science Education. She has participated in six National Academies studies, including chairing the committees that authored America’s Lab Report, Promising Practices in STEM Undergraduate Education and Discipline-based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering.