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James McGinnis



  • Higher Ed: Education 


J. "Randy" McGinnis. PhD
University of Maryland, College Park

Professor of Science Education
Center for Science and Technology Education
Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy, and Leadership,,

Biographical Sketch

I became a science educator as result of my experience in the Peace Corps (Swaziland, Africa). I graduated from UGA with a B.S. (with honors) in Geology with a focus on hydrogeology (minor in Philosophy). I obtained an M.A. and an Ed. M. in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Science Education from UGA. My science teaching practice extends from 1981 and includes middle level (Africa), high school (Bronx, NYC, USA), and elementary (Oregon and Georgia, USA). My science education teaching practice in higher education, undergraduate and graduate levels, extends from 1992. I also regularly design and teach inservice workshops for science teachers (domestic and international). My honors include awards connected to my teaching and school service (Rookie Teacher of the Year in the Bronx, NYC; Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, UGA; Lilly-Center for Teaching Excellence Fellowship, UM; Outstanding Service to the Schools, UM; Global Awareness in Teacher Education Fellow, UM; Elevate Fellow UM; and, Mentor of Fulbright Distinguished Teachers (Science). UM.

I am the founder and immediate Past-Director in the Center for Science and Technology in Education (College of Education, UM) at the University of Maryland (UM). Prior to UM, I was a faculty member in the Department of Science Education at the University of Georgia (UGA). In addition to teaching science education, I have served as a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Investigator (Research) for the Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation (MCTP) that integrated mathematics and science education and was reform-based, Project NEXUS that studied the recruitment, preparation and retention of diverse upper elementary/middle school science teachers by making connections between informal science education in formal science education ( Currently I am an Investigator (UM subcontract) of the NSF-funded MADE-CLEAR) Climate Change Education Program ( and NSF-funded STEM+C project. I have provided science education expertise to the American Meteorological Society, AGU, NASA, and NOAA.

My research interests are clustered in three areas and are reported in journal, book, and conference proceedings formats: 1. Science Teacher Education; 2. Climate Change Education; and, 3. Computational thinking. I regularly present at the annual meetings of: NARST: A Worldwide Organization for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning in Science, the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE), and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

I am a past president of NARST and a past editor of The Journal of Research in Science Teaching. I have served as an internationally elected Executive Board Member on the NARST Executive Board and the ASTE Board of Directors. I have received several award recognitions for my research during my career (e.g., NARST Early Career Research Award, University of Georgia David Butts Award, and the University of Maryland College of Education Exceptional Faculty Scholarship Award).



Science Teacher Education, Climate Change Education, Computational Thinking in Science Education 


Book Chapters
McGinnis, J. R., Hestness, E., & Riedinger, K. (2011). Changing science teacher education in a changing global climate: Telling a new story. In Jing Ling and R. Oxford (Eds.), Transformative Eco-Education For Human Survival: Environmental Education In A New Era (pp. 117-133). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

McGinnis, J. R., Hestness, E., Riedinger, K., Katz, P., Marbach-Ad, G. & Dai, A. (2012). Informal science education in formal science teacher education. In K.Tobin, B.
Frasier, & C. McRobbie (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Science Education (pp.1097-1108). The Netherlands: Kluwer. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-9041-7.

McGinnis, J. R., Kahn, S. (2014). Special needs and talents in science learning. In S. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), The handbook of research in science education, volume 2 (pp. 223-245). New York, NY: Routledge,Taylor and Francis.

Hestness, E., McGinnis, J.R., & Breslyn, W. (2015). Integrating sustainability into science teacher education through a focus on climate change. In S. Stratton and A. Feldman (Eds.), Educating science teachers for sustainability (pp. 143-162). Sense Publishers, Netherland.

Hestness, E., Riedinger, K., & McGinnis, J. R, (2017). Multiple approaches to using informal science education contexts to prepare informal and formal science educators. In. P. Patrick, (Ed.), Preparing informal science educators (pp. 311,-335). Springer Press, New York.

Brickhouse, N., McGinnis, J. R, Shea, N, Drewes, A., Hestness, H., & Breslyn, W. (2017). Core Idea ESS3: Earth and Human Activity. In Ravit Golin Ravit, Joseph Krajick, and Ann Rivet (Eds), Disciplinary Core Ideas: Reshaping Teaching and Learning (pp. 223-240). NSTApress, Arlington, VA.

McGinnis, J. R., & Hestness, E. (2017). Using drawings to make conjectures about teacher candidate's moral reasoning about climate change. In P. Katz, (Ed.). Drawing for science education: An international perspective (pp. 235-246). Sense Publishers, Boston.

McGinnis, J. R., McDonald, C., Breslyn, W. & Hestness, E. (March, 2017). Supporting the inclusion of climate change in U.S. science education curricula by use of learning progressions. In D. Shephardson, A. Roychoudury & A. Hirsch (Eds), Teaching and Learning about Climate Change: A Framework for Educators, pp. 135-151. Routledge, New York.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Marbach-Ad, G., & McGinnis, Pease, R., Dai, A., Benson, & Dantley, S (2010). Transformative undergraduate science courses for non-majors at a historically black institution and at a primarily white institution. Science Education International, 21,4, 252-271.

Marbach-Ad, G., & McGinnis, J. R., Pease, R., Dai, A., Schalk, K., & Benson, S. (2010). Clarity in Teaching and active learning in undergraduate microbiology course for non-majors. Bioscene, 36,2, 3-9.

Katz, P., McGinnis, J. R., Hestness, E., Riedinger, K., Dai, A., Pease, R., & Marbach-Ad, G. (June 2010). Professional identity development of teacher candidates participating in an informal science education internship: A focus on drawings as evidence. International Journal of Science Education, 33,11, 1169-1197. First published on: 26 August, 2010 (iFirst). DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2010.489928

Riedinger, K, Marbach-Ad, G, McGinnis, J. R., Hestness, E. & Pease, R. (2010). Transforming elementary science teacher education by bridging formal and informal science education in an innovative science methods course. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 33(9), 1169-1197. DOI: 10.1007/s10956-010-9233-8.

Hestness, E. McGinnis, J. R., Riedinger, K., & Marbach-Ad, G. (2011). A study of teacher candidates' experiences investigating global climate change education within an elementary science methods course. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22, 351-369. DOI: 10.1007/s10972-011-9234-2

Breslyn, W., & McGinnis, J. R. (2012). A comparison of exemplary biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics teachers' conceptions and enactment of inquiry. Science Education, 96, 1, 48-77. DOI: 10.1002/sce.20469.

Katz, P., McGinnis, J. R., Riedinger, K., Marbach-Ad, G. , Dai, A. (2013). The influence of informal science education experiences on the development of two beginning teachers' classroom science teacher identity. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23,1357-1379. DOI) 10.1007/s10972-012-9330-z).

McGinnis, J. R. (2013). Teaching science to learners with special needs. Special Issue, Diversity and Equity in Science Education (O. Lee & C. Buxton, Eds.), Theory into Practice, 52(1), 43-50. DOI: 10.1080/07351690.2013.743776

Hestness, E., McDonald, R., Breslyn, W., McGinnis, J. R & Mouza, C. (2014). Science teacher professional development and climate change education in the context of the Next Generation Science Standards. Journal of Geoscience Education, 62, 319-329.

McGinnis, J.R., McDonald, C., Hestness, E., Breslyn, W. (2016). An investigation of science educators' views of roles and responsibilities for climate change education. Science Education International, 27, 179-192.

Hestness, E., McGinnis, J. R., & Breslyn, W. (2016). Examining the relationship between middle school students' sociocultural participation and their ideas about climate change. Environmental Education Research (13 pages). DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1266303

Riedinger, K., & McGinnis, J. R. (2017). An investigation of the role of learning conversations in youths' authoring of science identities during an informal science camp. International Journal of Science Education. Part B, 7, 76-102. DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2016.1173741

Breslyn, W., McGinnis, J. R., McDonald, C., & Hestness, E. (2017). Developing a learning progression for sea level rise, a major impact of climate change. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53(10),1471-1499. DOI: 10.1002/tea.21333.

Hestness, E., McGinnis, J.R., Breslyn, W., McDonald, C., & Mouza, C. (2017). Examining science educators' perspectives on learning progressions in a climate change education professional development program, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 28(3), 250-274.

Breslyn, W., Drewes, A., McGinnis, J, Mouza, C., & Hestness, E. (2017). Development of an empirically-based, conditional learning progression for climate change. Science Education International, 28(3), 57-77.

Hestness, E., Ketelhut, D., & McGinnis, J. R., & Jandelyn Plane (2018). Professional knowledge building within an elementary teacher professional development experience on computational thinking in science education. Journal of Technology in Teacher Education (Special issue: Teacher preparation and professional development in computing education), 26 (3), 411-435.

Breslyn, W., & McGinnis, J.R. (accept w/major revisions, 2018, March). Investigating preservice elementary science teachers' understanding of climate change from a computational thinking systems perspective. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science And Technology Education.