Terzian adds elite 'UFRF Professor' designation as latest honor

Posted April 23, 2009

The academic honors keep rolling in for Sevan Terzian, associate professor and coordinator of UF’s social foundations of education program. Chosen last year as Undergraduate Teacher of the Year by the College of Education and as Teacher of the Year by the university, Terzian recently received the prestigious designation of University of Florida Research Professor.

Terzian has been on the UF education faculty since 2000 and this year was named the graduate studies coordinator for the School of Teaching and Learning. He is a researcher in the social foundations of education – a topic that, for many non-teachers, might seem a bit obscure. In his courses, however, Terzian uses role-playing, historic films and Socratic dialogue to show students how their own school experiences have been shaped by history, and how teachers have historically tried to shape their students.

Terzian holds two doctorate degrees from Indiana University – in the history of education and in American studies. He has devoted much of his research career to the study of the history of the American high school, with a focus on attitudes about science, gender and education in the post-WWII era. Under a grant from the highly selective Spencer Foundation, he is writing the final three chapters of a forthcoming book on the origins of high school science fairs, science clubs and talent searches for American youth from the 1920s to the 1950s. He also has started in-depth studies of the historical conceptions of giftedness, with special implications for students of color.

“Dr. Terzian is known as a strong advocate for students and shepherds them through their research activities and their efforts to present and publish their work,” said STL director Buffy Bondy, who nominated Terzian for the UFRF professorship. “Each year he takes students to the annual meeting of the History of Education Society, and he facilitates a foundations of education colloquium in the college so faculty and students can meet to discuss their research.”

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   Larry Lansford, COE News & Communications, llansford@coe.ufl.edu