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Dr. Penny J. Gilmer
Emeritus Faculty

Dr. Penny J. Gilmer


D. Sc.Ed. (2004) Science Education. Curtin University of Technology, Australia Ph.D. (1972) Biochemistry. University of California, Berkeley

Contact Information
504 DLC 850.644.4026
Programs of Research
Research Website

Research Interest

My research focus is in science education, including chemical and biochemical education. I am particularly interested in teacher change, both at the K–12 level and the university/community college level. For instance, I have worked with both practicing elementary and middle school teachers in graduate programs at Florida State University, helping them conduct action research in their own classrooms in an effort to address a problematic issue and to improve teaching and learning. Some of these studies are published as Science in the Elementary School Classroom, which is now available in downloadable form at

I have also encouraged both practicing and prospective middle and high school teachers to become involved in scientific research in order to understand scientific discovery and inquiry. Interestingly, most K–12 science teachers have not had scientific experience, making it harder for them to teach science through inquiry. Some of this research is published as Meaningful Science (see publications) and now is available at SERVE has just contracted with us to edit a monograph on the effects of scientific research on prospective secondary science teachers.

I am the Principal Investigator of a collaborative grant with four other universiites in the state of Florida> The title of our grant is the Alliance for the Advancement of Florida's Academic Women in Chemistry and Engineering, an ADVANCE-PAID grant, funded by the National Science Foundation. Our goals are to recruit, mentor, and provide leadership skills to women faculty in chemistry and engineering.

I have engaged in action research in my own university biochemistry classroom. In 2004, I earned a second doctorate in science education from Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. In 2010, I published this research in a book, published by Springer, entitled, "Transforming Undergraduate Biochemistry Teaching Using Collaborative Learning and Technlogy: Ready, Set, Action Research!

I utilize a metaphor of the triple point (i.e., a specific condition of temperature and pressure at which three phases of a pure substance can coexist and interconvert as solid, liquid, and gas) as a condition at which I can coexist and interconvert in my roles in teaching, research, and service. In 2002, I described this metaphor in a chapter in a book, I co-edited with my two co-major professors, Peter Taylor and Ken Tobin, entitled, Transforming Undergraduate Science Teaching: Social Constructivist Perspectives (Peter Lang Publishers, forthcoming), .

Research Image