Johnston, who has taught at WSU since 1997, excels at teaching, scholarship and service to both the university and the community.
Johnston educates and mentors many of WSU’s science teaching majors. In addition to teaching physics, he serves as the coordinator of WSU’s Teaching & Learning Forum, a setting that promotes professional development opportunities for instructors through lectures, workshops and discussion groups, and promotes new techniques for improving education in the classroom.
Johnston’s community outreach efforts include the Science in the Parks series, held at local parks in Ogden each summer. The series, which began in 2007, encourages elementary school children to get excited about science by offering daily hands-on activities and demonstrations based on scientific principles.
Johnston is credited as the co-founder and organizer of Science Education at the Crossroads, an interactive, national conference where science education scholars and teachers identify problems in the field and propose new ventures to solve them. The conference received National Science Foundation funding from 2007-2009.
Earlier this year Johnston was recognized by the Utah Science Teachers Association as the 2010 Science Teacher of the Year for his work with Utah science teachers in the public schools.
“Adam’s enthusiasm for taking science to the people is unbounded,” wrote his colleagues in nominating him for the Hinckley Award. “He inspires students, children, parents and colleagues to try new things, evaluate them, and always take the next step.”
Since 1991, the Hinckley Award has been bestowed upon a member of the WSU faculty who has excelled in teaching, scholarship and service. The award is named in honor of Ogden businessman and WSU supporter John S. Hinckley, who died in 1990.
The university’s TERM Steering Committee received the 2011 Exemplary Collaboration Award, in recognition of the teamwork demonstrated during the formulation and implementation of new developmental math courses.
The 16-member TERM Steering Committee led the way in transitioning to this new, innovative approach to developmental math, which relies upon a Web-based program and individualized tutoring. Students in the program learn mathematical concepts at their own pace. TERM is now used in all sections of Math 950, 960 and 1010, and enrollment in the program has far exceeded original projections — a testament to TERM’s success.
“Student reactions to the new model have been very positive,” said Dale Ostlie, dean of the College of Science. “Students who lacked confidence or were unsuccessful in learning math in the past are successfully completing courses under TERM and making real progress toward their degree goals.”
The university will formerly recognize the recipients of both awards at a luncheon on March 10.
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Michael Vaughan, provost
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