Professor inducted into Wisconsin Academy of Sciences

By University Communications
April 29, 2016
UW-Stout Professor Steve Nold, who was named a Wisconsin Academy Fellow to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, teaches a freshman biology class.

Photo: UW-Stout Professor Steve Nold, who was named a Wisconsin
Academy Fellow to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters,
teaches a freshman biology class.

 University of Wisconsin-Stout Professor Steve Nold has been inducted as a Wisconsin Academy Fellow into the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

The Fellow award, the academy’s highest level of recognition given to individuals, “acknowledges a high level of accomplishment as well as a lifelong commitment to intellectual discourse and public service,” according to the academy’s website.

Nold, who has taught at UW-Stout since 2000, was nominated by Charles Bomar, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“I nominated Steve since he is a clear visionary on the state of science education in the state and country. His efforts to engage students at all levels have made him a game changer in higher education,” Bomar said.

Nold called the induction “an enormous honor. To be recognized alongside the great scientific thinkers, writers and artists in the state of Wisconsin is humbling,” he said.

“I feel challenged and energized to continue my work improving scientific thinking skills among the people in our great state.” 

Nold, chair of the biology department, was recognized for “blurring the lines between original research and undergraduate education,” according to the

Steve Nold

 academy website. Using the tools of discipline-based education research, Nold studies how classroom students learn when they perform original scientific studies.

In his classes, Nold uses and develops cooperative, problem-based, case study and open-ended inquiry techniques to inspire student learning.

“My single-minded focus is on students, their learning and development,” he said.

Nold, who encourages scientific inquiry in his students, has always been curious, he said. “I caused unending trouble as a child as I explored, created and discovered.”  

He continues to be attracted to the “uniquely human ability to reason,” he said, “to challenge and improve our ideas about the natural world over time.”

“Making observations and improving our conclusions based on the latest evidence is what is so appealing to me about science and what sets it apart from other ways of knowing,” he added. 

Nold has presented faculty development workshops and studies the impacts of research experiences on student learning and development. He received the university’s Outstanding Teaching Award for 2011-12; the Dahlgren Professorship for excellence in teaching and research for 2010-12; and the Merle Price Faculty Award for Excellence in 2008.

One summer, he and a colleague integrated original research in the laboratory component of a course for students who were not majoring in a science field. Initially the students “were unsure of themselves, lacked confidence in their abilities, were generally frustrated and felt incapable of doing real science,” Nold said.

“By the end of the semester, a complete transformation had occurred; they confidently stood by their scientific posters and answered questions. They looked like scientists, spoke like scientists and acted like scientists. It was completely empowering. It changed the way I thought about the educational power of embedded research experiences,” he said.

Nold, one of 11 people recognized and the first at UW-Stout to be inducted into the academy, received the award April 17 in Madison.

For more information about the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Fellow award, refer to the website.


Photo captions

Second Photo: Steve Nold