SAN FRANCISCO (September 29, 2010) California Academy of Sciences Executive Director Greg Farrington, PhD, has announced that Elizabeth Babcock, PhD will join the Academy as the Roberts Dean of Education in October 2010. Babcock is currently the Vice President of Education and Library Collections for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The first person to fill the Academy's newly-endowed Dean of Education role, Babcock will be responsible for creating, funding, and implementing the museum's formal education programs.
"When we created the new Dean of Education role, our goal was to hire a first-rate, creative, imaginative, passionate, impatient, energetic and highly entrepreneurial candidate—and Dr. Babcock embodies all of those qualities," said Farrington. "At a time when global climate change is affecting everything from crops to coral reefs, species that support human health are disappearing, and diseases are developing immunities to our medicines, it is hard to argue that science isn't an integral part of our daily lives. Yet scientific literacy levels remain shockingly low. The need for innovative, visionary programs of science education has never been greater, and we look forward to accelerating our efforts to address this need with Dr. Babcock on our team."
Babcock will lead a dedicated team of educators at the Academy who deliver a wide variety of formal education programs, including the Teacher Institute on Science and Sustainability, the Careers in Science intern program, the BioForum continuing education series, and a number of other teacher and student services. She will also lead the development of new initiatives, including programs that allow the Academy to reach teachers and students beyond the Bay Area.
"I am thrilled to be joining an organization that has demonstrated such a forward-thinking approach to addressing some of the most pressing problems of our time," says Babcock. "I believe that museums like the Academy have the potential to play an enormous role in solving the educational crisis we are facing, and I look forward to expanding the impact that the Academy can make in this arena, both within and beyond the Bay Area."
Babcock has been at the Field Museum since 2002, where she has demonstrated her innovative approach to museum-based education by launching several digital learning initiatives, including "WhyReef" and "Animal Adventures", virtual world projects for teens and tweens that leverage museum collections and new technologies to engage these audiences in the topics of ecology and conservation. In her current role as the Vice President of Education and Library Collections, Babcock is responsible for the development and implementation of education programs, outreach initiatives, and digital programming to over 800,000 adults, families, teachers and students each year.
Before joining the Field Museum, Babcock worked as a consultant and program developer, designing community outreach strategies and environmental education programs. She also worked for several years in the corporate sector, managing user experience research and design projects in the financial, consumer products, and technology industries.
Babcock has taught K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and adult students in a range of content areas, including music for special needs students, environmental anthropology, sustainable development, introductory anthropology, and adult literacy. She holds a PhD and MA in Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University, where she studied international migration and Belizean voluntary associations. She also holds a BA in Psychology and a BM in Music Education from Northwestern University.
The new Roberts Dean of Education chair was endowed by the Roberts Foundation, with additional funding provided by the Pisces Foundation.
Babcock will join the California Academy of Sciences on October 12, 2010.
The California Academy of Sciences is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, and world-class research and education programs—all under one living roof. Admission to the Academy is: $29.95 for adults; $24.95 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID; $19.95 for children ages 4 to 11; and free for children ages 3 and younger. Admission fees include all exhibits and shows. Hours are 9:30 am - 5 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11 am - 5 pm on Sunday. During peak periods, including some holiday weekends, an admission surcharge and extended hours may apply. Visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.