ROE R. Cross Distinguished Professor
2011 - Richard Schrock
John Richard Schrock grew up in rural Indiana. He finished his homework on the bus ride home from school so he could rush in, toss his books on his desk, grab the insect net and snake hook and head into the woods, saying "Hi, Mom. Bye, Mom."
His mother held supper until dark so he could explore every creek and log. He knew he wanted to be a biologist by the time he was eight and by the time he was ten, having pestered everyone in the neighborhood with what he had learned about those critters, he knew he would be a biology teacher.
Schrock attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute, where tuition was $8 a semester hour in 1964, completing a bachelor's degree in biology teaching and a master's in science education. He began teaching in Kentucky before he graduated from I.S.U., and completed his degrees during summers. Schrock taught five years in Alexandria, Kentucky middle and high schools and two years at the I.S.U. Laboratory School before going overseas to teach at Hong Kong International School for three years.
Schrock completed his Ph.D. in entomology working on insect ecology and systematics at the University of Kansas and, upon graduation, worked for the Association of Systematics Collections for three years. When the A.S.C. moved to Washington, DC, Schrock took the position at Emporia State University, directing biology teacher training. He was on the state biology committee and closely involved in the Kansas evolution debates of 1999. He writes a weekly Kansas newspaper column on education, produces public radio commentaries, and appears monthly on Kansas television.
Schrock learned Cantonese while teaching in Hong Kong and studied standard Chinese for his doctoral foreign language skill at K.U. He continues to travel and lecture each summer at Chinese normal universities in cooperation with their efforts to modernize science education and move away from the teach-to-the-test system.
He is also editor of the Kansas School Naturalist, the Kansas Biology Teacher, the English editor of the Chinese entomology journal Entomotaxonomia, and associate editor of the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society.
And while Schrock is a stern advocate when it comes to educational issues, he always seems to remain approachable and interested in his students. His students frequently comment about his teaching abilities, giving high marks.
"Loved his class and I'm not a science person," remarked a former Emporia State student. "He had a good sense of humor and was able to keep people interested, even at 8 a.m."
Other adjectives used in ratings to describe professor Schrock, include “very good’ and “enthusiastic”. It is the kind of zeal one would expect from a biologist who knew back at age 8 this is what he was born to do.