Dr. J. William Hug

Associate Professor; Science, Environment and STEM Teacher Education

Department of Education


Dr. Hug's academic work focuses on elementary science teacher education, environmental education and place-based education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate teacher education courses such as Elementary Science Teaching Methods, Place-Based Environmental Education and Educational Research Methods.

Dr. Hug's research focuses on pre-service elementary teachers' understanding of science, environment, ecology and natural history content; place-based curriculum design, implementation and evaluation; and citizen decision-making in the service of sustainability goals.


  • Science Teaching Methods for Early Childhood, Elementary and Adolescent Learners
  • Environment, Ecology and Nature-Study Education
  • Instructional Strategies in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
  • Teaching Elementary & Middle School Children Life Science
  • Integrative Project in STEM Education
  • The Nature of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Inquiry Learning in Elementary/Middle Schools
  • Action Research Methods in Education

Research Interests

  • Instructional strategies for elementary science teacher education
  • Science, environment and ecology conceptual understanding
  • School curriculum that supports local communities

Research Projects

  • PNC Bank Foundation Grow Up Great With Science grant to PennWest California will enhance teachers' abilities to use outdoor experiences to teach children about plants, animals and communities.
  • U.S. Department of Education grant to develop the capacity at PennWest California to implement innovations in elementary science teacher education.

Service Learning Projects

  • Ohiopyle Borough/Ohiopyle State Park Joint Master Plan and Implementation Strategy Advisory Committee
  • Participation in Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources/Bureau of State Parks Regional Laurel Ridge Interpretive Planning Committee and Urban Planning Committee
  • Consulting and professional services to elementary schools in science, environment, ecology and place-based education

About The Center for Excellence in Elementary Science and Math Education


  • M.S.: Curriculum and Instruction, emphasis on Science and Environmental Education, Penn State
  • Ph.D.: Curriculum and Instruction, emphasis in Science and Environmental Education, Penn State

Email: hug@pennwest.edu

Phone: 724-938-4985

Office: Keystone Hall Room 306