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 Colin Johnson OBE

Colin Johnson

OBE

Honorary Research Fellow

School of Social Sciences

Colin Johnson is an experienced consultant with a background in both formal and non-formal science education.  As the former director of a science discovery centre with worldwide links, and through subsequent work in science communication, he has an international reputation in the field of public engagement.

His current research interest is in the due recognition/accreditation of life skills not covered by written examinations. This challenge is one for citizens who are entitled to better self-esteem, for employers who need to evaluate capabilities that are not tested by exams, and for employees who need a portfolio that guides them towards future training and career development.

(I have some Cardiff University history: I was the PGCE lecturer for Chemistry from 1978 until initial teacher training at UWCC ceased in 1990.)

Positions held

2004-date             Independent consultant post-retirement, including external examining, mentoring, programme support 
1997-2004            Director/CEO, Techniquest, 85 fte staff, £3.5m annual turnover, £10m capital employed
1990-1997            Deputy Director and other senior roles at Techniquest Science Discovery Centre
1978-1990            Lecturer in Education (chemistry), University College Cardiff
1966-1978            Assistant Master, Bristol Grammar School 5 yrs; Head of Science, Whitchurch High School, Cardiff 7yrs

Qualifications

University of Oxford: BA/MA - Final Honour School of Chemistry
BSc – a higher degree, by research and publication; DipEd

University of Wales: MEd

Honours and awards

  • Honorary Distinguished Service Award, ASTA, Australian Science Teachers Association, 1995
  • Honorary Fellow, Ecsite, European Collaborative for Science Industry and Technology Exhibitions, 2003  (one of only four Fellowships currently held across Europe)
  • OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire "for services to science", New Year Honours, 2004
  • Honorary Fellow, British Association for the Advancement of Science, 2007
  • Honorary Member, ASDC,UK Association for Science Discovery Centres, 2009
  • The 2011 Fellow Award for Outstanding Contribution, ASTC,Association of Science-Technology Centers, USA (the only British person ever to have been awarded this Fellowship)

Professional memberships

Member

Royal Society of Chemistry, FRSC
Association for Science Education

Honorary Member/Emeritus Fellow

Association for Science-Technology Centers, USA
Association for Science and Discovery Centres, UK
British Association for the Advancement of Science
Ecsite - the European Collaborative for Science, Industry and Technology Exhibitions

Academic positions

Honorary Research Fellow, UWCC, (1990-93)

Leverhulme Teaching Fellow, Royal Institution of Great Britain, (part-time 1990-93)

Lecturer in Education, University College Cardiff and successor organisations (1978-90)

Speaking engagements

2019

Invited speaker - Ecsite Annual Conference, Copenhagen

2018

Facilitator - NCCPE National Forum, London

Session Chair and Convener - Ecsite Annual Conference, Geneva

Committees and reviewing

CURRENT

  • Chair, Wellcome Trust/BEIS Advisory Committee for the Evaluation of the Inspiring Science Fund 
  • Grant Reviewer: Wellcome Trust, Royal Academy of Engineering, Science Foundation Ireland 
  • Member of UK judging panel for the Rolls-Royce Science & Technology Prize for schools 
  • Journal Reviewer: School Science Review 

COMPLETED

  • Member, Wellcome Trust’s External Advisory Board for the ‘Informal Learning Review’ (2011-12)
  • Chair, Advisory Committee to the Wales ‘Beacon for Public Engagement’ (2009-10)

  • Member, BBRSC institutional assessment team, with responsibility for public engagement programme assessment (2006)

  • Member, EPSRC Strategic Advisory Team for Public Awareness, (2005-6)

  • STFC Science and Society Panel member, (2004-6)

  • National President 05, Education Section, British Association for the Advancement of Science, (2005)

  • Trustee and Executive Vice-President, British Association for the Advancement of Science, (2003-08)

  • Inaugural Chair, ECSITE-UK, now the UK Association for Science & Discovery Centres, (2000-4)

  • Member, Wellcome Trust Selection Panel for locating the National Science Learning Centre (2003)

  • Member, Sciences Panel, National Museums & Galleries of Wales (2001-3)

  • Judging Panel Member, Aventis Prize for Science Books, junior section (2002)

  • Board Member, ASTC, the USA’s Association of Science-Technology Centers (2000-04)

  • Co-chair, ASTC International Committee (2002-04)

  • Board Member, ECSITE – the European Network for Science Centres & Museums (1999-2004)

  • Chemistry Adviser, International Baccalaureate(1990s)

  • Panel member for scrutiny of Examination Boards by the School Examinations and Assessment Council (1990s)

  • Council Member, Association for Science Education (1980s)

  • Member of Education Division Council, Royal Society of Chemistry (1980s)

This Fellowship is a visiting role which does not carry a teaching responsibility.

Current research interest is in the due recognition/accreditation of life skills not covered by written examinations. This challenge is one for citizens who are entitled to better self-esteem, for employers who need to evaluate capabilities that are not tested by exams, and for employees who need a portfolio that guides them towards future training and career development.

The need for this provision extends from emerging professionals in the many fields where there is no ladder for career development and accreditation, and also to those ‘ordinary citizens’ whose self-esteem and employability would be enhanced if their full range of skills and attributes  were to be recorded and recognised.

PUBLICATIONS

2014
Science Museum Outreach”, commissioned article in Springer online Encyclopaedia of Science Education, 2014

2006
Rhetoric and Road Shows: an ambivalence about audiences” in J Turney (ed), “Engaging Science – thoughts, deeds, analysis and action”, Wellcome Trust, 2006

2005
Science Centers as Learning Environments”, ASTC web site (2005):
http://www.astc.org/resource/education/johnson_scicenters.htm
“Science Centers as Learning Environments: defining our impact”, ASTC Dimensions, Nov/Dec 2005, 3-5
“Training Science Centre Explainers”, JCOM (online Journal of Science Communication - http://jcom.sissa.it), December 2005  [Portuguese version in Diálogos & Ciência: Mediaçao em museus e centros de ciência, Museum da Vida, Rio de Janeiro, 2007]

2003
"Learning in Science and Discovery Centres", Proceedings of the 2002 Rio Workshop for Brazilian Science Centre Experts, (2003)

2001
"ASTC 2000 – Science centres prepare for the new century", Leisure Management, January 2001

1998
"Chemistry Displayed: the role of museums and science centres", Chemistry & Industry, 15 June 1998, 486-489
"The Science Centre Movement: context, practices, next challenges", Public Understanding of Science, 7 (1998), 1-22 (with J.G. Beetlestone, H.J. White and M. Quin)

1987
"Chemistry for GCSE", Heinemann, 1987

Editorial

Founding Editor: Science Teacher Education, 1990-95
Assistant Editor: The School Science Review, 1975-1996