Conradson, Diane R. (1927-2002)

Conradson, Diane R. (1927-2002)

Date Updated



Biology (Natural Science)

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

UC Berkeley, 1973 Ph.D.

San Jose State University, 1968 MA

UCLA, 1948 BA

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1966-1992; Jan‑May 1993

4th Grade, 1950-1952

Junior High, 1949-1949

Selected Publications

Exploring Our Baylands (3rd ed., 1996).

Personal Commentary

Although born and raised in the heart of Los Angeles, I still somehow loved "nature." I wanted to be a medical doctor as long as I could remember, but changed to Biology and a Life Science Secondary Credential in my junior year at UCLA when I decided I could not stomach the cut‑throat competition and cheating for grades for admittance to medical school. I ended up teaching fourth grade on an emergency credential, a wonderful experience.

After being involved for several years in Palo Alto's efforts to preserve its baylands‑­successfully‑‑I came back for an MA in Natural Science at SJSU when my youngest child start school, one of the early "re‑entry" women. The late 60s were pre‑Affirmative Action days, and I was almost assured of a tenure track position if I had a doctorate. I applied to Stanford's doctoral program in Science Education, and was informed that I was too old (40) for Stanford to "waste its resources" on a person who could not be productive long enough to warrant its efforts. U.C. Berkeley did not consider "advanced age" a drawback, and accepted me. Despite commuting 95 miles round trip several times a week for several years, raising four children (with the help of an understanding husband), and teaching full time at SJSU, I not only got that Ph.D., I taught for 27 years, reasonably productively.

In the 70s and early 80s, professional activities counted as much as publications‑‑and still should. For more than 20 years, and still ongoing, I have used my expertise in Science Education on various California State Department of Education committees. I have: reviewed elementary science textbooks; helped develop science standards for Liberal Studies; reviewed science and other subject areas for waiver programs for all multiple subject credential programs in California; helped develop both the standards and the questions for the MSAT, etc., etc.

I had several NSF grants for science teacher development in content and methodology, as well as grants from individual school districts, and from a consortium of 20 south bay school districts for elementary science teacher development. I have chaired or co‑chaired numerous science teacher conferences, and offered workshops in even more. Beginning in 1974, I have been an active member (and former president) of ESSA (Elementary School Science Association) in addition to several other science education associations.

I taught a variety of courses at SJSU, among them general science, ecology, field trip techniques, started both an upper division scientific writing course years before it was required, began the classroom experience course for potential teachers nearly 20 years before the State required it, taught science methods for Natural Science majors, and was the Natural Science advisor for many years in addition to restructuring the program several times. I served as Associate Dean of Science Education under Dean Lester Lange, and was on one University committee or another almost every year. I taught in Field Studies in Natural History for 23 years, was Director for 6 years, and, among others, began the trips to Baja California.

I have loved every minute of life at SJSU (well, almost), and still miss the students and teaching and colleagues.

Date Completed: 11/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Conradson, Diane R. (1927-2002)