To NARST Members:
I am heartbroken to share the sad news that Dr. Randy McGinnis has passed away after an illness.
Randy was a true friend for me and an unconditional leader in NARST and at the University of Maryland. He always offered his help, in any capacity, and was extremely helpful to me in the last role he played as the Distinguished Contribution to Science Award Committee Chair when I was a Board Member and the Chair of the Awards Committee. Even during his illness, he reached out to me to ask to be nominated to one of NARST committees to which he could contribute. In his commitment and devotion, he gave an outstanding example to young and experienced scholars. I wish to share with NARST members words sent to me by Dr. Gili Marbach-Ad, a close colleague and friend from the University of Maryland, and offer my own and NARST members’ deep condolences to Randy’s family.
Dr. Randy McGinnis was passionate about educating pre-service and in-service teachers. He has secured numerous external grant awards to advance understanding of best practices to support the training of current and future teachers. Randy was the Principal Investigator (Research) for the Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation (MCTP), a NSF funded mathematics and science teacher education program (
), and secured continued funding through the NEXUS Project, The Maryland Upper Elementary/Middle Level Teacher Professional Continuum Model. With these grants, he was able to support his graduate students’ research.
Randy is known for his commitment to diversity, which is exemplified by his collaboration with Historically Black Institutions (HBI’s), and his recent research exploring the recruitment, preparation and retention of upper elementary/middle school science teachers, and in particular those from traditionally underrepresented groups. One of his research projects involved interviewing advisors of in-service teachers at predominantly white institutions and in historically black institutions. Through this project, Randy observed that students identifying as black showed a tendency to return to their communities to serve as role models of excellent teaching. This research deepens our understanding of black-identifying pre-service teachers’ experiences, perspectives, culture, and career decision-making processes.
Randy was a great mentor to his graduate students. He was very warm and approachable. He facilitated a collaborative and supportive environment in his research group, and a strong commitment to generating high-quality research publications among his graduate students. Graduates from his research group finished with strong dissertation projects and publication records. Randy actively assisted his graduate students in securing meaningful employment following graduation.
As a young researcher, I felt that Randy was a nurturing and reliable mentor who helped me to successfully transition from Tel Aviv University to the University of Maryland. His support included collaboration with me on grant proposals and publications, introducing me to international and national research colleagues, and writing recommendation letters.
Randy has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the NSF MADE CLEAR project, which focuses on educating students and pre-service teachers about climate change. This project encompasses four universities, and Randy leads the research group in Maryland.
Dr. McGinnis is internationally and nationally recognized as a leading scholar in science education. Testimonies to this recognition are his service as editor-in-chief in the most prestigious journal in science education (
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
) and his tenure as president for NARST: A global organization for improving science education through research.