Dr. Townley specializes in evolution education research and development, alternating her time between the classroom and the field as an Associate Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Science Education at Georgia Southern University. Her research centers on the intersections of science and society, specifically the acceptance and rejection of evolution in the Southeastern United States and the impact of the conflict between religion and evolution on science literacy. Her research and outreach have been featured on the NPR radio series Science Friday, the NPR video series The Macroscope, Vox.com, and the Bold Signals podcast. She has further contributed as an invited guest on the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) Science League of America Blog, ErrantScience.com, and WeTheHumanties.com and collaborator with the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution. Her outreach includes service as a curator for RealScientists.org and @RealScientists on Twitter, @IAmSciComm, @BioTweeps, and expert panelist for Science Friday's education focus #TeachTheE. She is a regular Science Education writer for the Times Education Supplement USA edition and Books Editor for The American Biology Teacher journal. She presently serves on the Curriculum Board for the National Geographic Umsuka project for the Cradle of Mankind Heritage site, South Africa. Her publications can be found in Science Education, The International Journal of Mathematics and Science Education, Education Sciences, The American Biology Teacher, Georgia Education Researcher, Revue Internationale d'Education de Sevres, and Nature Ecology & Evolution. Publications available without paywall via ResearchGate.
Areas of Expertise (7)
Pre-Service Teacher Education
Intersections of Science and Society
Ecologies of Learning
Emerging Scholar Award
2023 American Educational Research Association, Religion & Education Special Interest Group
Award for Excellence in Research
2021 Georgia Southern University
Jack Miller Scholarship Award
2020 Georgia Southern University College of Education
Biology Education Research Award
2020 National Association of Biology Teachers
Evolution Education Award
2018 National Association of Biology Teachers
M. Ray Loree Most Outstanding Dissertation Award
2015 The University of Alabama
Top Ten, University-Wide Outstanding Dissertation Award
2015 The University of Alabama
Alabama Academy of Sciences, First Place Paper
2014 Science Education
A.R.E. (Advisors Recognizing Excellence) Faculty Excellence Award
Dissertation Research Award
2012 The University of Alabama
Ph.D.: University of Alabama, Curriculum & Instruction 2013
Specialization: Science Education Major Professor: M. Jenice Goldston
Ed.S.: Jacksonville State University, Secondary Science Education 2009
M.S.Ed.: Jacksonville State University, Secondary Science Education 2008
B.S.: Jacksonville State University, Criminal Justice/Political Science 2004
- American Education Research Association
- Association for Science Teacher Education
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Association of Physical Anthropologists
- Association of Middle Level Educators
- Georgia Science Teachers’ Association
- Eastern Educational Research Association
- National Association for Research in Science Teaching
- National Center for Science Education
- National Science Teachers' Association
- Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society
- Society for the Study of Evolution
Media Appearances (3)
Teachers Help One Another Bring Evolution Back to the Classroom
Scientific American online
Yet to those who grew up in devoutly religious communities and have gone through the process of learning evolution, it is obvious that ignoring religion won’t work. Amanda Glaze, who is a professor of middle grades and secondary education at Georgia Southern University, was inspired to study evolution education in part by her own experience. After growing up in a creationist family on an Alabama farm, she fell in love with science and eventually came to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution. But it was not an easy journey.
Unspeakable, Forbidden, Taboo: Teaching Evolution in the South with Dr. Amanda Glaze
The Evolution Institute online
Evolution remains a taboo and often misunderstood subject for much of the American South. Dr. Amanda Glaze studies this deeply rooted cultural attitude and its religious and societal influences. Her research centers on the intersections of science and society, specifically the acceptance and rejection of evolution in the Southeastern United States and the impact of the conflict between religion and evolution on science literacy. Join Dr. Glaze as she discusses her research on teaching and learning evolution in the South and hear the insightful stories she has collected along the way ...
Teaching evolution in the South: an educator on the “war for science literacy"
Amanda Glaze is a professor of science education at Georgia Southern University. Before that she spent roughly a decade teaching K-12 in Georgia and Alabama. She has spent her entire teaching career in the South.
Event Appearances (5)
A house on solid ground: science and faith in the evangelical South
Invited Address Samford University, Birmingham, AL
Mind and Soul: Intersections of Science and faith in the Push for Science Literacy
Invited Address University of Tyler Texas Darwin Week, Tyler, TX
Reflections of an Evangelical Evolutionary Biologist: Walking in a World of Science and Faith
Invited Address University of Tyler Texas Darwin Week, Tyler, TX
Can science and faith truly co-exist?
Invited Address Agricultural College, Tifton, GA
Laboring for science, laboring for souls: obstacles and approaches to teaching and learning evolution in the Southeastern United States
Invited Address with Respondent Panel Smithsonian Institution Broader Social Impacts Committee, Washington, D.C.
Research Grants (4)
Expanding the Teaching and Understanding of Diverse Evolutionary Studies (ETUDES)
A Level Three Late-Stage Design & Development Proposal to NSF DRPK12
2024 (in progress)
Supporting local teacher professional learning in authentic contexts in coastal Georgia
MyGeorgia COAST $9,802
GS Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program
NSF Robert Noyce Scholarship Program Track 1 $1,198,404
Learning Evolution Through Human and Non-Human Case Studies
A level II Late Stage and Development grant for NSF-DRPK12 $1,082,238
Leveraging Communities of Practice as Professional Learning Communities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) EducationEducation Sciences
2020 In the modern educational era, there is an increasing focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Innovation and workforce preparation play a large role in the push to increase scientific literacy, thinking skills and high-skilled personnel. However, there are ongoing issues with reforming education to meet these goals as well as the recruitment and retention of students in these fields.
The Generalized Acceptance of EvolutioN Evaluation (CAENE) 3.0: Enhancement and Validation of a New Measure of AcceptanceJournal of Higher Education Theory and Practice
2020 This study builds upon existing analysis of validity and reliability wherein the instrument performed at statistically strong levels in high school and post-secondary applications (Smith, Snyder & Devereaux, 2016). In response to concerns with prior validation, the researchers added items to address extremes in the Rasch person-item continuum, removed Rasch model mis fitting items, collapsed two correlated items, and conducted further analysis of construct (convergent) validity through comparison to two existing measures of acceptance.
Evolution education is a complex landscapeNature Ecology & Evolution
2019 Researchers in various contexts have long struggled with an apparent disconnect between an individual’s level of understanding of biological evolution and their acceptance of it as an explanation for the history and diversity of life. Here, we discuss the main factors associated with acceptance of evolution and chart a path forward for evolution education research.
Acceptance, Understanding & Experience: Exploring Obstacles to Evolution Education among Advanced Placement TeachersThe American Biology Teacher
2019 Students in the United States who wish to begin early enrollment in college-level coursework often turn to Advanced Placement (AP) secondary coursework such as AP Biology as an accelerated option. As such, it is expected that those teachers who are responsible for the AP Biology courses hold an advanced level of subject-area expertise that extends to topics that are often seen as controversial in K–12 classrooms, including evolution.
Teaching and Learning Science in the 21st Century: Challenging Critical Assumptions in Post-Secondary ScienceEducation Sciences
Amanda L Glaze
2018 It is widely agreed upon that the goal of science education is building a scientifically literate society. Although there are a range of definitions for science literacy, most involve an ability to problem solve, make evidence-based decisions, and evaluate information in a manner that is logical. Unfortunately, science literacy appears to be an area where we struggle across levels of study, including with students who are majoring in the sciences in university settings. One reason for this problem is that we have opted to continue to approach teaching science in a way that fails to consider the critical assumptions that faculties in the sciences bring into the classroom. These assumptions include expectations of what students should know before entering given courses, whose responsibility it is to ensure that students entering courses understand basic scientific concepts, the roles of researchers and teachers, and approaches to teaching at the university level. Acknowledging these assumptions and the potential for action to shift our teaching and thinking about post-secondary education represents a transformative area in science literacy and preparation for the future of science as a field.
US science teaching and learning of evolution: A critical review of the literature 2000–2014Science Education
Amanda L Glaze, M Jenice Goldston
2015 This critical analysis examined research on evolution in the United States between the years 2000–2014, spanning early classroom implementation of the National Science Education Standards to current research findings. First, we sought to understand how the research literature published between 2000 and 2014 contributed to knowledge of evolution education as well as areas required to further illuminate our understanding of evolutionary acceptance and rejection. Two hundred thirteen studies were reviewed using identified criteria that included the approach to teaching, attitudes and perceptions, religiosity, and proposed teaching methods, with particular emphasis on evolution teaching and learning. Following multiple rounds of article examination, seven general directions appear to be present in evolution education research: (1) approach to evolution in the classroom; (2) knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of evolution; (3) attitudes and perceptions of evolution; (4) factors impacting the teaching and learning of evolution; (5) evolution conflict and coping strategies; (6) evolution and religiosity; and (7) proposed evolution teaching method, courses, and assessment. The analysis pointed to four areas in need of further exploration: (1) elaboration on how worldview affects acceptance; (2) exploration of specific factors (intrinsic and extrinsic) that influence the acceptance of evolution; (3) examination of experiences to define these factors, especially among preservice teachers; and (4) exploration of evolution acceptance across geographical regions of the United States.
Evolution in the southeastern USA: Factors influencing acceptance and rejection in pre-service science teachersInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Amanda L Glaze, M Jenice Goldston, John Dantzler
2015 Evolution continues to be a controversial topic around the world but nowhere is this more apparent locally than in the Southeastern region of the USA. In this study, we explored acceptance and rejection of evolution among pre-service science teachers in a teaching college in the rural Southeast and sought to determine (1) what relationships exist between the worldview variables and acceptance of evolution among pre-service secondary science teachers? and (2) Which combination of these variables explains the most statistically significant amount of variance in acceptance of evolution among pre-service secondary science teachers? Regression analysis was used to determine the best-fit model predicting levels of acceptance in this sample, explaining 45 % of variance in acceptance of evolution in 4 variables. The result of this study sheds light on possible remediation for low acceptance of evolution and directions for improved preparation of future science teachers relative to teaching and learning evolution.
Evolution and pre-service science teachers: investigating acceptance and rejectionThe University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
Amanda Michelle Lee Glaze
2013 This study utilized three methodological approaches to examine the controversy and concerns associated with evolution education, taking the examination of acceptance and rejection full circle from concept to conflict. Employment of a critical analysis approach determined existing gaps in the literature surrounding evolution education and provided directionality for further study. A quantitative analysis generated findings that explain variance in the acceptance of evolution among pre-service science teachers in a teaching college in the Southeastern United States. A third qualitative method study explored the lived experiences of pre-service science teachers focusing on the variables of interest and generated a theoretical process model of acceptance and rejection for this group of participants. This study's variables explored aspects of Southern cultural and religious identity, socio-cultural influences on teaching and learning, and dilemmas faced by teachers when teaching controversial topics. This exploration illuminated the current state of evolution education in the Southeastern Unites States, as well as obstacles to the acceptance of evolution and possible avenues for improvement of science teacher education and classroom instruction.
The dynamic earth: Recycling naturallyScience and Children
M Jenice, Elizabeth Allison, Lisa Fowler, Amanda Glaze
2013 The goal of The Next Generation Science Standards for science teachers is to engage students in the practices of science to understand how scientific knowledge develops through direct activity where learners investigate, model, and explain the world. Here, Goldston et al describe a fifth-grader series of activities and simulations exploring rocks and the rock cycle.