What is ASTA?
- A federation of eight state and territory Science Teacher Associations (STAs).
- The national professional association for teachers of science ASTA profile.
- A powerful voice to influence policy and practice in science education.
- A body administered by a National Secretariat in Canberra and governed by a representative Federal Council.
Founded in 1951, the Australian Science Teachers Association is a federation of Science Teachers Associations from all Australian states and territories. Its National Secretariat is based in Canberra under the charge of the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Peter Russo. ASTA has approximately 4,000 individual members including 800 primary members, and ten honorary life members.
Membership of state and territory Science Teacher Associations (STAs) confers automatic membership of ASTA. ASTA’s governing body is a Federal Council. It comprises a President and Treasurer, either the Immediate Past President or the President-Elect, the Chief Executive Officer (a non-voting member) plus two representatives from each of the eight member associations. ASTA Councillors, with the exception of the Chief Executive officer, serve in an honorary capacity. The ASTA Executive comprises the President, Treasurer, either Immediate Past President or President-Elect, and the Chief Executive Officer.
The Canberra-based ASTA Secretariat has a staff of six—the Chief Executive Officer, National Science Week Project Officer, Publications Manager/CONASTA Facilitator, Office Manager, Financial Officer and the Online Learning Manger (who currently works off site). The Secretariat administers and manages all major initiatives and programs from an annual budget exceeding $700,000.
ASTA publishes one substantial journal, Teaching Science. This journal has an honorary editor, the Publications Manager and an editorial board drawn principally from the membership of the STAs.
One flagship activity of professional development for the association is CONASTA, the annual conference of ASTA. The opportunity to convene CONASTA is rotated among the STAs. The CONASTA program typically provides a diversity of lectures, workshops and excursions, plus national and international keynote addresses of interest to the general and specific science educator. CONASTA is also the occasion for ASTA Council to meet and conduct most of its annual business.
The other flagship activity is the production of the ASTA National Science Week Schools Kit and Resource Book. This contributes to raising awareness of the value and relevance of science, technology, engineering and innovation in our daily lives to all schools across Australia. ASTA develops, promotes and disseminates a range of interesting information, resources and incentives to make it possible for schools from the remotest parts of Australia, to the metropolitan hubs to be involved in National Science Week.
More information about ASTA can be found at http://www.asta.edu.au