Foundation Award for Service

Alice Jill Black

Dr. Alice "Jill" Black

College of Natural and Applied Sciences
Geography, Geology, and Planning

I. Philosophy of Service

My philosophy is based on four concepts: Appreciation of nature and the Ozarks, public understanding of the importance and nature of scientific thinking, public education as a foundation of democracies, and the multiplying effect of work with teachers.  We are living in a unique natural area that deserves preservation.  Scientific discoveries, including advancements in labor-saving devices and energy sources, gave us our standard of living.  They especially benefitted groups that formerly were given no option but performing tedious or manual labor for more powerful groups.   Philosophically, enlightenment ideas related to science also influenced the Founding Fathers. Franklin and Jefferson were scientists.  Verdicts in our legal system are based on evidence, not the whims of an autocratic ruler, and introduction of new evidence can change verdicts. Science is based on empirical evidence, and new evidence can change conclusions, an idea still not universally appreciated.  Jefferson also understood that democracy required public education; all voters must understand issues and practice critical thinking, especially in scientifically-related decisions.  K-12 teachers are on the “front lines” in this effort, and deserve academia’s best efforts.  Inspiration of even one teacher can influence numerous students, including many teachers and students yet unborn, and is therefore multi-generational. 

II. Examples of service including service to University, discipline and community

  • PI, Missouri Department of Higher Education Improving Teacher Quality grant titled Early Elementary Environmental Education: A Field-Based Approach, working with 36 teachers in the West Plains area, 2012-2015
  • President, President-Elect, and Past President Missouri Environmental Education Association, 2007–2009
  • Director, State Conference, Missouri Environmental Education Association, 2009
  • Key Project Personnel, Missouri Department of Higher Education Improving Teacher Quality grant titled Science and Mathematics for Rural Teachers, 2008–2009; Project Personnel, NHF grant: Science Experts Teaching Students, 2013, 2015
  • Reviewer, Earth Science and Unified Earth Science Assessments for the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment Program for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2013
  • Expanding Your Horizons Science Outreach for middle school girls, 1999, 2004–2010
  • Local Implementation Team, American Meteorological Society/National Weather Service—NOAA Project DataStreme for K-12 Educators, 2005–2012
  • Science Olympiad Event Organizer, 2000, 2005-present; Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair judge, numerous years, 2001–present; Facilitator, Projects WET, Wild, and Learning Tree, 1999–present; MSU Professional Education Committee 2007-2014
  • Numerous departmental, college and university professional education, science education, and other committees, 1998–present; Ozarks Studies Institute Advisory Board, 2007-present; University Search Committee for Director of Ozarks Studies Program & Endowed Professorship, 2007–2008
  • Event Organizer—“A Sense of Place:  Ozarks Geography and More”, 2007
  • Sustainability Minor Action Committee, 2011–present; Presenter, Geography Week 2010
  • Presenter, Showcase on Teaching and Learning, 2012
  • Organizing Committee, Academy for Educational Studies Annual Conference, 2006–2008
  • Numerous reviews of science education conference proposals and manuscripts, 2007–present, Springfield Environmental Collaborative, 1999–present; numerous hands-on workshops for science teachers at national and regional science education meetings, 2009-present
  • MSU Sustainability Fair presentations, 2010–2011
  • Citizenship and Service Learning Teacher, 2000–present; Citizenship and Service Learning Research Grant, 2012; Citizenship and Service Learning Faculty Fellow 2006

III. Future Commitment to Service

I have recently been funded by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, as Principal Investigator, for another three-year Improving Teacher Quality Grant titled Science and Technology for Elementary Educators: A Literacy, Engineering, and Environmental Approach.  We will be working with practicing teachers in the south central and southwest regions of Missouri.  I will also continue with my other science education outreach activities and committees and Ozarks Studies committees.

IV. Topics related to service for which you are available for presentations and/or consultations (e.g., public affairs, relationship of service to teaching, and relationship of service to research).

  • Relationship of service to teaching
  • Science education
  • Relationship of government education grants to service, science education and service
  • Geography of the Ozarks