Nadine McHenry

Nadine McHenry, EdD

  • Professor
  • Director of Science Teaching Center
Media Expertise:
  • Education
  • Science & Environment

Programs I Teach

Education

  • EdD, Curriculum Theory and Development (1993)
    Temple University (PA)

About Me

After graduating from Penn State in 1977, I immediately became an elementary classroom teacher and have remained in the classroom since. I taught the primary grades as a homeroom teacher charged with the full time teaching of one particular grade level. Upon my achievement of a master’s degree in environmental studies and education, I moved into a position as a specialized science teacher (K-8). While completing my doctoral degree, I also worked in the non-formal world of education in nature centers and museums as an environmental educator as well as a curriculum developer. 

Over these past 38 years, I have maintained my passion for teaching and as a teacher educator since 1994, I have focused on developing best practices that will yield teacher candidates who are effective role models for children of all backgrounds. My work is scaffolded by a deep belief in the power of service learning and civic engagement. I currently offer middle level certification course work that is grounded in the theoretic propositions of service learning.

The Healthy Me program helps 5th graders learn about health issues while improving their math and literacy skills. The outcome is a student-led health fair for the community. In Earth Force, a national service learning program, teacher candidates work with local children to identify and provide a solution to a local environmental problem. As a result of this work, I am proud to say that I was the recipient of the Widener University Civic Engagement Award in 2011.

My most current research builds on these service learning experiences as my colleagues and I investigate the possibility of a community immersion program for our early learning teacher candidates. Helping our teacher candidates learn about their students' community will improve their abilities to apply culturally responsive pedagogy and become better teachers.

Research Interests

My research interests have focused on teacher education and professional development for many years. Working with teachers in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the US, I designed and implemented a program where participating teachers learned about inquiry based teaching strategies in science. Given this training, the teachers then collaborated and shared their classrooms' and students’ work via Skype so that the children could get a sense of both the commonalities and the differences between the scientific concepts learned in two very different environments. My interest in inquiry based teaching and learning strategies was also clearly present in my current work with SE Delco teachers who learned the inquiry process and then were videotaped to examine the consistency of their teaching practices with their training.

In both of these cases, I have learned of the importance of culture in the development of teachers who can work effectively with their students. Knowing the community is an implicit requirement of being an effective teacher. My current research interests focus on the design and implementation of a community-immersed teacher education program that focuses on the development of our teacher candidates into culturally responsive teachers who can successfully work with the diverse children that make up US classrooms today.

Publications

  • McHenry, N., Alvare, B., Bowes, K., & Childs, A. (2013). Sharing the environment: Cultural exchange through inquiry-based environmental education. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 8(2), 381–400. DOI:10.12973/iijese.2013.207a
  • McHenry, N. and Borger, L. (2013). How can teacher-directed professional development lead to the identification, utilization, reflection on and revision of 5E learning progressions. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 17 (1), 1-24.
  • McHenry, N. (2011). Teacher education in the community: Integrating field work through service learning and community engagement. In Ledoux, M. W., Wilhite, S.C. & Silver, P. (Eds.). Civic engagement and service learning in a metropolitan university: Multiple approaches and perspectives. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA)

Awards

  • Widener University Civic Engagement Award (2011)
  • Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, Neumann College (1999)
  • $350,000 NSF Start Grant: For improving teachers' understanding/use of sustainability - Leadership Team

Noteworthy

  • Nadine McHenry Receives Chester Upland Community Partnership Award

    Professor Nadine McHenry received the 2019 Chester Upland Community Partnership Award for her leadership of Widener's Community Engaged Teacher Education program. She was recognized during an awards ceremony and reception held at STEM High School on June 12.