John Czworkowski
Science and Math Initiative/California Teach; problem-based learning; the use of computer multimedia for science instruction

Contact Information
LPSOE of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office: Urey Hall 2258
Phone: 858-822-6665
1991 Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
1985 B.A., University of Pennsylvania
Research Interests
The focus of my work is the implementation of UCSD's new Science and Mathematics Education Minor, part of the campus's interdisciplinary, interdepartmental Science and Math Initiative (SMI) and the California Teach program. The goal of SMI is to attract science and mathematics teachers from among the University of California's best and brightest science, mathematics, and engineering undergraduates. Courses and curricula are being developed for this initiative to best serve this group of future teachers, and to prepare them for UCSD's extremely successful teacher credentialing program as well as other paths to the teaching profession. The need for new and highly competent science and math teachers is critical: California faces a shortfall of math and science teachers in the near future, and the demand will only increase as the state and the nation strive to remain at the forefront of discovery and innovation.

In collaboration with other science faculty and staff in UCSD's SMI group, I am investigating the effective use of problem tasks in science education. Problems are frequently central to science education at all levels, and their use as instructional tools has been investigated from a number of perspectives. We are conducting a systematic analysis of the optimal characteristics of problem tasks for science education, in order to formulate principles to guide their use.

I have continuing interest in the use of computers to implement research-grounded strategies for effective science education, including the use of interactive simulations and other multimedia. I am also exploring the use of computers to organize and deliver instruction in a pedagogically optimal way, involving computer tutors that can act as agents over highly structured databases of digital content.
Primary Research Area
Chemical Education
Interdisciplinary interests

Outreach Activities
As one of the core faculty in the University of California Science and Math Initiative (SMI)/California Teach program, I am preparing undergraduate UCSD science majors to become science teachers. Former students enter UCSD’s teacher credentialing program, which targets underperforming and culturally diverse schools for placements. This overall program of teacher development has the potential to increase the proportion of high-school students from underrepresented groups who are qualified to study science at the University of California and at other competitive colleges and universities.

A related activity promoting diversity has been my involvement as a reviewer for Noyce Scholarships awarded through UCSD’s Education Studies Department; a critical component of the evaluation is the level of commitment to promoting diversity in education on the part of the applicant pre-service teachers.

I have also served on the Chemistry-Biochemistry department’s Diversity and Outreach Committee.
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Selected Publications