Ledernan Honored with NTSA Legacy Award



By Casey Moffitt

Social Media Links

Norm Lederman at delivering an academic talk

The late Norman G. Lederman, distinguished professor of mathematics and science education at Illinois Institute of Technology, was honored by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) with its Legacy Award during the association’s National Conference on Science Education on April 1.

Lederman, who founded and chaired the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at Illinois Tech, was internationally known as a scholar and for his research contributions in teaching the nature of science. His 1992 article, “Students' and Teachers' Conceptions of the Nature of Science: A Review of the Research,” published in Journal of Research in Science Teaching, has been credited with shaping modern research in nature of science teaching.

His wife, Judith Lederman, who worked side by side with her husband in Illinois Tech’s mathematics and science education department, accepted the award.

 “It is a special honor for Norm to be presented with the NSTA Legacy Award because it recognizes his dedication to improving science teaching and learning,” says Judith Lederman. “Although he was a renowned researcher it was always important to him to have his research impact and inform classroom teachers’ practice and ultimately result in improving their students’ scientific literacy.”

Lederman’s 47-year career was highlighted by more than 1,000 presentations, invited talks, and keynote addresses at regional, national, and international professional conferences and meetings, as well as universities around the globe. Lederman received the prestigious recognition as a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009 and the American Educational Research Association in 2010.

Lederman also was known as a dedicated scholar, serving as adviser to 51 doctoral students over his career. A common sight at NSTA meetings was the Ledermans leading an entourage of graduate students, showing them how to network, who to meet, and to understand the value of presenting before, participating in, and learning from professional organizations.

"Norm was an intellectual force and prolific researcher over his 47-year career,” says National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Immediate Past President Reneé Schwartz, who is a professor of science education in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia State University. “He, along with his wife and partner Judith Lederman, worked tirelessly to educate and support science teachers around the world to include NOS and nature of scientific inquiry in their teaching. In other words he had a global impact on advancing scientific literacy."

Lederman served on the Board of Directors and as president of both NARST and the Association for Science Teacher Education, and served on the NSTA Board of Directors twice. He received the NSTA Distinguished Service to Science Education Award in 2017.

The NSTA Legacy Award recognizes long-standing association members of at least 15 years and those who have been deceased for fewer than 10 years. Lederman passed away in February 2021, following his retirement from Illinois Tech in 2020.