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Gale M. Sinatra, USC Rossier professor, elected to the National Academy of Education

Expert in climate science education joins the foremost organization in education policy and practice

By Ellen Evaristo Published on

Gale M. Sinatra, the Stephen H. Crocker Professor of Education and Professor of Psychology at the USC Rossier School of Education, has been elected to the National Academy of Education, the organization announced on Friday, January 28.

The mission of the National Academy is to advance high-quality research that improves education policy and practice. Consisting of U.S. members and international associates, members of the academy are selected based on their portfolio of education-related research; Sinatra was one of 17 new members in this year’s class.

“We are very proud of Gale’s election to the National Academy of Education. It is a well-deserved honor for a scholar who is making a vital difference through her work,” says Pedro A. Noguera, the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of USC Rossier.

Sinatra’s areas of expertise include climate science education, evolution education, learning theory, knowledge construction, conceptual change learning, literacy acquisition, assessment and the public understanding of science. She focuses on the role of motivation and emotion in teaching and learning about controversial topics, such as biological evolution and climate change. Sinatra developed a model of conceptual change learning, which describes how motivational factors contribute to the likelihood that individuals will change their thinking about a scientific topic. In 2021, she co-authored Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It, and has commented extensively on the science denial themes in the recent Netflix film “Don’t Look Up.”

“I am honored to be a part of this prestigious group,” Sinatra says. “Thank you to the National Academy members and all of my colleagues who made this possible.”

Sinatra joins Noguera among current USC Rossier faculty in the National Academy. Previous faculty named to the academy include Shaun R. Harper, Ron Avi Astor, Estela Mara Bensimon, Robert Rueda and William G. Tierney.

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