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K-State Today

December 16, 2013



Education professor resumes leadership of Center for Science Education

By Patrice Scott

Jackie Spears, professor of curriculum and instruction, will resume her full-time position as director of the Center for Science Education in the College of Education effective Jan. 1. For more than a year, Spears has served K-State in two capacities dividing her time between the Manhattan and Olathe campuses.

As interim associate dean at the Olathe campus, Spears assisted K-State Manhattan faculty in launching master’s programs in horticulture, veterinary biomedical sciences, biological and agricultural engineering, food science and agribusiness with emphasis on animal health. Spears also served as acting chief executive officer from August through September until CEO and Vice Provost Prema Arasu was hired in October.

“The Olathe team benefited tremendously from the breadth and depth of Dr. Spear’s many experiences, and we certainly hope to continue drawing on her wise counsel,” Arasu said. 

Provost April Mason believes Spears leadership was essential to the campus’s long-term success.

“Dr. Spears provided leadership and expertise in academic programming at a very critical time as the Olathe campus experienced a leadership transition at its highest level,” Mason said. “We are all indebted to Jackie for her leadership and service to Kansas State University.”    

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is grateful to Spears and recognizes the intense commitment this dual assignment required.

“Jackie is an incredibly talented person who commands respect,” Mercer said. "Her name is almost synonymous with science, and our state is a better place because she decided to become a science educator. We are so proud of the impact she has made and the relationships she has cultivated through her experience at K-State Olathe, and we are thrilled she is returning to the college to lead the Center of Science Education.”

Spears will continue her engagement with the Olathe campus through research and development designed to integrate K-12 education with university efforts to respond to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, workforce needs in the greater Kansas City area.