|Honored by:||The Zoology and Genetics Department|
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Dr. Delma E. Harding, deceased emeritus professor of Zoology, was the first female faculty member in the Department of Zoology and Entomology.
She was born in Iowa City in 1905 and received her B.A. in 1929 from the State University of Iowa (now called the University of Iowa). After graduation, Delma began her career by teaching science at secondary schools in Bayard, Sharon Center, and Lisbon, Iowa. Her teaching was noted for its innovative "hands-on" approaches. She served as head of the Science Department at Newton High School.
She returned to graduate school, obtaining her MS from the State University of Iowa in 1938. She worked for the Public Health Service as an Assistant Entomologist after graduation. During this period, she wrote several bulletins and published on her research on anopheles mosquitoes. She helped design and initiate a Science Teacher Training Program at Illinois Normal College in 1946.
She returned to graduate school in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) and obtained her Ph.D. in 1953, and subsequently joined the department as an assistant professor. She was a member of the department faculty from 1954 until her retirement in 1975.
Delma was best known for her role in training secondary school science teachers. She coordinated the Science Teacher Training Program, taught "Methods of Science Teaching," and supervised student teachers in schools throughout the state of Iowa. The latter activity took considerable time and effort. As an example, during the month of September 1968, she traveled 2,275 miles visiting student teachers in schools from Oskaloosa to Clear Lake. She became known and loved by an amazing number of science teachers in Iowa and across the country.
Delma contributed to science teaching in many other says as well. She organized short courses for teachers, directed N.S.F. summer institutes, served as a visiting professor in high schools, contributed to the Iowa Science Teacher's Journal, and co-authored a text book entitled "Creative Biology Teaching."
Delma was honored with ISU's Outstanding Teacher Award in 1957 and with the Iowa Academy of Sciences' 1978 Iowa Science Teacher Award. She was a member of several honoraries including Mortar Board, Alpha Lambda Delta, Tomahawk, and Lampos. She served as faculty advisor to Lampos for a number of years.
Delma added immeasurable to the quality of student life and education at ISU. She is a very positive person who brought out the good in other people. Her open-door policy extended from her office to her home, where students frequently just "dropped in" to visit. She sponsored a number of international students' educational experiences in this country and provided housing for students from many lands.
Delma was a very creative person and she promoted creativity in others. She incorporated photography into her teacher training methods, and in her retirement wrote short stores and poetry even as her eyesight failed. She thought of others and remained optimistic and cheerful in the face of illness. She added generously to life at ISU and Ames and we will always be appreciated.