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Luft receives 2020 Distinguished Research Professor Award

Lauren Leathers

April 21, 2020

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During Honors Week, the title of Distinguished Research Professor is awarded to UGA faculty who are internationally recognized for their contributions to knowledge and whose work fosters continued creativity in their discipline.

As a leading scholar in the field, Julie A. Luft, the Athletic Association Professor of Mathematics and Science Education in the Mary Frances Early College of Education, investigates the professional development of science teachers. Over the years, Luft has designed, implemented, and studied different types of professional development programs. She has been specifically interested in how these programs influence the learning of newly hired science teachers.

"At the end of the day, my goal is to have my research make a difference in the lives of science teachers," Luft said. "This is why I get up in the morning and this is what drives my daily work. To be honest, I am incredibly lucky to be recognized for doing something I enjoy so much."

Luft says a new dimension to her research, which is the focus of her new National Science Foundation SCAFFOLD project, pertains to working with district science coordinators to better support newly hired science teachers. Along with her research, she focuses on translating and sharing educational research with science teachers.

"I have been fortunate to work with outstanding graduate students over the years, and I have remarkable colleagues who are supportive of my work," Luft said. "This award is not about me as much as is it about a body of work that has involved many people."