Assistant Provost for Distance Education and Strategic Research Initiatives – Shepherd University
Dr. Jason Best is the Assistant Provost for Distance Education and Strategic Research Initiatives, a Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Observatory Director at Shepherd University. A member of the Shepherd University faculty since 1997, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy/astrophysics from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University.
He has served on the national Council on Undergraduate Research’s Task Force on Integrating Research into the Curriculum and on the National Advisory Committee for the PRAXIS Earth and Space Sciences Examination, as president of the West Virginia Academy of Science, as a member of the Shepherd University Board of Governors, and as president of the university Faculty Senate. He was a member of the 2015-16 American Council on Education Fellows Class, focusing his fellowship project on research efforts at primarily undergraduate institutions. He is a member of the Higher Learning Commission’s Peer Review Corps, and currently serves on the Shepherd University Foundation as both a board member and member of the Executive Committee, chairs the university Institutional Review Board and the university Research Policies Management Group, and serves as Shepherd’s Accreditation Liaison Officer.
Dr. Best’s research publications and presentations are in fields as diverse as galactic evolution, the large-scale structure of the universe, virtual reality, and the evolution of Renaissance cosmology. In addition, he has been awarded many research grants from federal and state agencies, has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education's Research section and in West Virginia Science & Research’s Neuron journal and Scientist Spotlight Video Series, has served as a grant reviewer and research referee for numerous national and international journals and agencies, and has been an invited speaker at numerous state, national and international science conferences and events. As part of a multiyear National Science Foundation-funded grant beginning in 2015, Dr. Best worked with scientists across the state as part of the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, an initiative designed to remotely teach high-school students across the nation to conduct research on data obtained by the Green Bank Telescope.