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2007 ASP Annual Award Recipients

Richard H. Emmons Award
Andrew Fraknoi
Foothill College, USA and ASP

The ASP was delighted to award the second Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in college astronomy teaching to Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College in California. He is a longtime member of the Society, and a distinguished astronomy educator with a national reputation. His series of "Voyages" textbooks are clear, accurate and up to date. They are also expertly crafted to help students learn from them. He has experimented with several courses with novel themes designed to link astronomy to subjects like science fiction and literature more generally. He has also served other instructors of astronomy well by assembling a number of Web-based instructor guides, including some based on his own innovative courses at Foothill College.

The past decade has seen the emergency of a new discipline, astronomy and space science education, a field with its own research interests in how students learn, in the persistence of ingrained misconceptions and in ways to reach underrepresented groups. Andy is a central figure in the emergence of this new field. His was the initial vision and driving force behind the Astronomy Education Review, the only journal of its kind anywhere. He remains a coeditor and promoter of the AER. He has also organized, and found financial support for, five national conferences on the teaching of "Astro 101," the Cosmos in the Classroom series. Appropriately, given his position at one, these reach out to instructors in community colleges where roughly half of the 250,000 students enrolled in "Astro 101" courses learn their science. These meetings are financially, logistically and intellectually complex. Participants range from internationally known scientists to non-astronomers who are assigned to teach astronomy or earth science courses by luck of the draw. Cosmos is remarkably effective in setting conditions that encourage all the participants to learn from one another."

Perhaps more familiar to many readers of Mercury are Andy Fraknoi's many and important efforts to reach out to wider audiences: his frequent radio and TV appearances, his articles in Mercury, and his Family ASTRO program to encourage science learning in homes as well as classrooms. We honor Andrew Fraknoi not just for his excellence in astronomy education at Foothill, but for his contribution to astronomy education in the nation as a whole.