Wisely Fellow Speaker Series to feature science education director

The controversies regarding evolution and education will be the topic of Stephen F. Austin State University’s 2013 Wisely Fellow Speaker Series event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom.

Dr. Eric Meikle, education project director of the National Center for Science Education, is the featured speaker for the event hosted by the School of Honors. Dr. Karol Chandler-Ezell, an assistant professor of anthropology at SFA, was selected as this year’s Wisely Fellow, a competitive academic fellowship designed to assist in the development of innovative teaching techniques and collaborative learning opportunities while encouraging intellectual curiosity and building stronger student communities.

“As a biocultural anthropologist with a background in biology and anthropology, Dr. Chandler-Ezell invited Dr. Meikle to serve as the 2013 Wisely Fellow Speaker,” said Dr. Michael Tkacik, director of SFA’s School of Honors. “Dr. Meikle is interested in the history of human evolutionary studies and the nature of antievolutionism, and Wednesday’s presentation will explain how evolution education fits into the American educational system.”

Meikle, a physical anthropologist with special training in the fossil record of human and primate evolution, received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He was anthropology adviser for the "Stones and Bones" curriculum development project of the Los Angeles Unified School District from 1979 to 1991. His talk will address the cultural and social issues that spark controversies, as well as his views on the importance of evolution in the foundations of science education.

While on campus, Meikle will present lectures to classes in SFA’s departments of biology and social and cultural analysis, as well as the School of Honors.

“This will give students and faculty a chance to interact with Dr. Meikle on additional topics, such as the historical, political and religious perspectives associated with creationism and evolution; how the philosophies of creationism, science, and religion compare and contrast; and the importance of evolution in understanding human origins, as well as basic science,” Tkacik said.

The National Center for Science Education provides information and resources for schools, parents and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education. According to the center’s website, its 5,000 members include scientists, teachers, clergy and citizens with diverse religious and political affiliations.

The Wisely Fellow event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the School of Honors at (936) 468-2813.