October 22, 2017

TEXAS FORESTRY ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZES DR. JANA WILLIS AS PLT EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

MONTGOMERY, TEXAS – Dr. Jana Willis, Professor of Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Houston -Clear Lake received the Texas Forestry Association’s Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator of the Year award at the annual convention held Oct. 26-28, 2015 at La Torretta Resort and Spa in Montgomery, Texas.

“Dr. Willis, at the recommendation of a fellow professor and long-time PLT facilitator, attended a workshop 15 years ago and was inspired to use the PLT Environmental Education Activity Guide for PreK-8 as one of her course textbooks” Misty Bowie, Texas PLT Co-Coordinator. “Since then, Dr. Willis has continued using the Guide and two PLT secondary modules in her courses, training over 10,000 preservice educators in PLT.”

Dr. Willis has conducted longitudinal studies and found that teaching candidates utilize their PLT materials in other education courses and during their student teaching. In addition she has collected data on how her graduates are currently using PLT in their classrooms. She has presented her research at a variety of conferences such as the North American Association for Environmental Education, the PLT International Coordinators’ Conference, and even the prestigious American Educational Research Association. She has also published her research relating to technology, PLT and environmental education in numerous national international journals.

In addition to her work with preservice students, Dr. Willis has made extensive contribution to PLT at the national level, After a couple of semesters of using PLT, she shared with the National office how her students were integrating technology into their PLT activities. National PLT recognized the importance and soon initiated a committee to incorporate technology into the PreK-8 Activity Guide.

“Dr. Willis and her team of Texans were the driving force behind the integration of technology in the revised PLT activity guide and her hallmark is on nearly every page of the book,” Bowie said. “Her leadership will be instrumental to Texas PLT as we strive to see our pgram utilized by more teaching programs in the future.”

She has served on additional committees at the national level including the Urban and Community Forestry Resources committee. Currently Dr. Willis is a reviewer for the document, Implementing PLT in Higher Education Settings: A Resource Guide. The guide is intended to provide ideas, methods and resources for higher education faculty and educators to integrate PLT into their educational programs and was presented in a sessiona t the 2016 PLT International Coordinators’ Conference.

DR. WILLIS PHOTO:

Dr. Jana Willis accepts the 2016 Texas Forestry Association’s Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator Award for her efforts to integrate PLT in higher education and understanding the importance of infusing technology in the curriculum. She received the award during Texas Forestry Association’s annual convention held at La Torretta Resort and Spa in Montgomery, Texas, held Oct. 26-28, 2016. Presenting the award is TFA Executive Director Ron Hufford and, on the left, John Boyette, Texas PLT Co-Coordinator.

ABOUT:

Texas Forestry Association, the voice for forestry for 100 years, promotes an economic, social and political climate that will advance forestry in Texas through education, political action and public relations, as well as serving the broad needs of the forest resource of landowners, producers and consumers, and to enhance and perpetuate the Texas forest resource.