Faculty Profiles

Dr. Barbara Spector

professor, science education

Spector headshot

Email: spector2@usf.edu
Phone: (813) 974-3533

Dr. Barbara S. Spector is a Professor of Science Education at the University of South Florida. She earned her Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Dr. Spector became a faculty member in the USF College of Education in 1985. 

Dr. Spector was Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Florida, one of seven NSF funded centers in the U.S. At USF, she previously initiated and directed the Project 2061 Higher Education Research and Development Center, the USF Graduate Program of Excellence for Mathematics and Science Teachers, the Science/Technology/Society Center, and the World of Water Summer Program for Middle School Students.


Undergraduate courses

  • Science Methods for Middle Grades
  • Science/Technology/Society Interaction
  • Internship Senior Seminar.

Graduate courses

  • Trends in Science Education Marine Science Education: Community Building I, II, & III, Mathematics and Science Education Policy, Change, and School Improvement
  • Understanding Mathematics, Science, and Technology as Human Enterprises
  • Foundations in Research Implications for Teaching Mathematics
  • Science Foundations in Science Education Reform and Inquiry: Integrating Mathematics/Science/Technology Society for Elementary Schools.

Dr. Spector has developed 25 innovative university science education courses, most at the graduate level. In addition, two undergraduate courses she and her team developed, "Science Methods for Middle Grades" and "Science/Technology/Society Interaction" have been identified as national exemplars of preservice teacher education in a new series being published by the National Science Teachers Association.

Research, Publications & Service

The umbrella for her research is how change occurs in education. She uses and has taught qualitative research methods. As a leader in science education reform, she has authored more than 525 refereed articles, monographs, chapters, books, reports, national position papers, and presentations at international/national, regional, state, and local conferences. She has earned national and international prestige in science teacher education through these writings; numerous nationally elected leadership positions in various science education professional associations (e.g., NSTA Research Director; NASTS Research Director, AETS Director-At Large, etc.); service on a variety of appointed editorial boards and committees; being a National Institute for Science Education Fellow; consultancies to Federal, State, and Local Education Agencies across the country and business and industry; appointments to national grant advisory boards; and her role in development of national and state standards.