By Lois J. Gray
Mark McDermott, a nationally-recognized expert in STEM teaching and learning, has been named the new associate dean for teacher education and student services in the University of Iowa College of Education.
McDermott, clinical professor of science education, will formally begin in his new position on July 1. He will succeed Nancy Langguth, who will retire June 30, 2021 after successfully filling the role since 2015.
In addition to serving on the faculty, McDermott also serves as the associate department executive officer for the Department of Teaching and Learning in support of teacher education and clinical/instructional faculty, and the program coordinator of both the Elementary Education major and the online Master of Science in STEM Education.
“The faculty teaching our Teacher Education Program courses are so strong and committed and have developed such great experiences for our students,” McDermott says. “I can’t wait to be able to work with all of them in this broader role as we continue to build even better, more innovative, more equity-focused, and more unique experience for our students.”
McDermott adds he is honored and humbled to take the reins from Langguth and to continue building upon the success of both the top-ranked Teacher Education Programs and the College of Education’s Office of Student Services.
“Nancy has been such a great advocate for all our students, faculty and staff,” McDermott says, “and I certainly hope to continue serving as that sort of advocate.”
McDermott adds that the staff in the Office of Student Services is equally committed to helping students have an outstanding experience in our program.
“I am very much looking forward to learning from them and working with them to continually provide that great experience for students,” McDermott says. "And finally, we have such outstanding teacher candidates in our program, I am really looking forward to interacting with all of them, learning from them, and supporting them in their preparation for what I happen to think is the most important career.”
University of Iowa College of Education Dean Daniel L. Clay says he is confident that McDermott will continue to successfully lead and innovate in this new leadership role.
“Mark brings a great blend of success as an exceptional science educator at both the K-12 and college levels and depth of knowledge of the broader field of teacher preparation,” Clay says. “He has excelled in his role as associate department executive officer and will bring great leadership and vision to this new role, building upon the success of our Teacher Education Programs and service to our students.”
Prior to joining the College of Education in 2014, McDermott served as a high school teacher for 14 years – as a high school biology teacher at New Hampton High School, a chemistry teacher at Roland-Story High School, and a science teacher in the Iowa City Community School District. He also worked as an assistant professor of science education at Wartburg College and was a content specialist at ACT, Inc.
McDermott received a Bachelor of Special Studies in biology and secondary education from Cornell College in 1995, a Master of Science in science education from Iowa State University in 2001, and a doctorate in science education from the University of Iowa in 2009. He has received a number of awards and recognitions over the years including the Iowa Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers in 2008, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Iowa Science Teachers Section of the Iowa Academy of Science in 2017, to name only a few.
Since joining the college, McDermott has also served as the STEM coordinator for the college and university, strongly advocating for STEM education at the local, state, and national levels. He was instrumental in launching a new, highly-successful online Master of Science in STEM Education degree program. He is a member of the National Association of Research in Science Education, the Association of Science Teacher Educators, and the National Science Teachers Association, and he previously served as a member of the European Science Education Research Association and the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, where he continues to serve on several committees associated with the council.
McDermott has also co-published a book, “Using Multimodal Representations to Support Learning in the Science Classroom,” with science education professor Brian Hand in 2016. He has also written numerous book chapters or refereed presentations on topics ranging from science curriculum, STEM literacy, and STEM careers to professional development and innovations in teaching science in the classroom. He has also presented at dozens of conferences, symposia, and workshops and participates in a number of successful grant and contract-funded research projects.