Robert D. Sherwood

BS 1971, MS 1973, Chemistry


"Participating in the Purdue Marching Band is still a pleasant memory for me. The ability to work in a large group, having the chance to travel to other campuses and helping to bolster school spirit were all very positive factors."

Robert Sherwood understood the impact that interdisciplinary collaborationcould have on higher education long before it was fashionable in academia,especially in the STEM fields.Sherwood, a professor of science education and associate dean for researchat Indiana University, Bloomington, says a strong background in the sciences,fostered while at Purdue was key in his early days as a middle school and highschool teacher.That continued as he moved into academia, studying the issues of teachingscience, especially chemistry, as well as participating in undergraduate researchprojects focused on research in education. “These experiences led me to value theimportance of interdisciplinary work.”

Sherwood says he’s thankful for Purdue chemistry education professor DudleyHerron, who encouraged him to think outside the box, expanding his ideas ofwhat teaching could be about.And he is proud of the role he continues to play in a project launched by his parents,both Purdue alumni, to grow high-protein corn on the family farm for needyfamilies around the world. The all-volunteer Bryantsville Hunger Relief Projecthas distributed almost 10 million pounds of corn since 1985.His impact on STEM education might have been even more notable. The Cognitionand Technology Group, during his time at Vanderbilt University, included cognitivescientists, assessment specialists and education faculty in science, mathematics,technology and literacy to develop technology-based instructional materials andconduct research to advance K-12 education.“This initiative resulted in work that has formed the basis for much of theproblem-based/project-based instruction that is growing in use across thecountry,” Sherwood says.


BS ’71, Chemistry, Purdue University

MS ’73, Chemistry, Purdue University

PhD ’80, Science Education, Indiana University

Career highlights

2008-Present Associate Dean for Research, School of Education, Indiana University

2006-Present Professor of Science Education, Indiana University

2004-06 Program Director, National Science Foundation

1983-2006 Professor of Education, Vanderbilt University

1980-83 Professor of Science Education, New York University

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