News & Events

UMPI alumnus returns to teach hybrid education course

University of Maine at Presque Isle alumnus Michael Thibodeau—a 2013 inductee into the Massachusetts Science in Education Hall of Fame and the University’s most recent Distinguished Educator Award recipient—is returning to campus this spring to teach a new hybrid course for the College of Education. His 9-week course will run from March 3 to May 5.

EDU 363: Teaching Science in the Secondary School will be presented in an online format, but with a special hybrid twist—Thibodeau will be on campus in person to provide two on-campus lab experiences on Sat., March 8 and Sat., April 12.

“After talking with Mike about his passion for preparing science educators and the fact that he is a distinguished online science educator, I realized that the science educators in the County and the state would benefit tremendously from his expertise,” Dr. Chris Standefer, Assistant Chair of UMPI’s College of Professional Programs and Education, said. “I was pleased when he agreed to teach this hybrid class because I knew that the hands-on modeling of science education would provide the student very practical and appropriate experiences, which, in turn, would enhance their education and provide a level of professional comfort for the students.”

Thibodeau’s course is especially for those teaching science at the middle and high school level, placing an emphasis on the examination of curriculum projects and trends, selection and construction of teaching materials, study of selected topics in science areas, involvement in several science teaching strategies, review of research in science education, and care and use of living and non-living science materials.

While there are other online science methods for secondary education courses available, the hybrid format of EDU 363 gives the students the opportunity to be exposed to and participate in actual activities that can be done in the classroom/lab. This course is not only appropriate for pre-service students, but for state certification seekers in science as well.

Michael Thibodeau graduated from UMPI in 1966 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. He went on to earn his Master’s degree in Natural Science in 1970 from the University of Oklahoma. He currently teaches earth science at Lesley College and Introduction to Physical Science, Space Science, and Earth Science online. For the past two years, he has served as the Program Director of Lesley University’s Science in Education Online Program in the School of Education.

For nearly two decades, Thibodeau has spent his summers in the Bay Area of California. In 1991, he was selected to participate in the Teacher Research Associates Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he worked with a team of geologists on the Hayward Fault Trench Project and later worked as a mentor to other teachers in the program. Most recently, he has served as coordinator of the Academies Creating Teacher Scientists Program, a research program for in-service teachers supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science.

Thibodeau has delivered presentations at several national and professional conferences and maintains several professional affiliations. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Science Teacher Educators, the National Science Teachers Association and the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

Thibodeau was honored in 2004 with a recognition award by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, for “Outstanding Service as Master Teacher with the Pre-Service Teacher Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.” He also is the recipient of the Tandy Technology Scholars Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, 1993-1994, and received UMPI’s Distinguished Educator Award in September 2013. Most recently, in 2013, he was inducted into the Massachusetts Science in Education Hall of Fame.

For more information and class registration assistance, please contact Shara Gardner, UMPI Professional Advisor, at 207.768.9419 or at shara.gardner@maine.edu.