In Memoriam: Lucy Bates-Byers

March 4, 2019

Alumna, educator and researcher Lucy Bates-Byers passed away on February 5, 2019 at the age of 83.

She graduated from the College of Education in 1973 with an M.A. in Elementary Education.

A teacher in the Lansing School District for 24 years, Bates-Byers was also a Teacher Collaborator for the college’s Institute for Research on Teaching in the 1970s and 1980s. These collaborators, such as Lucy (then known as Lucy Knappen), worked half-time on research projects while continuing to teach half-time in local K-12 schools.

Lucy Bates-Byers with Joe L. Byers circa 2000, celebrating their newly established endowment.

One team, the Content Determinants Project, included faculty members Dean Robert Floden and University Distinguished Professor William Schmidt. “Teacher Autonomy and the Control of Content Taught” (1979) is just one of the many examples of projects she collaborated on as part of this team.

“I served on one of Lucy’s research projects, which did ground-breaking work on the differences in mathematics content in the major standardized tests and commercial workbooks, studying how those differences affected what was taught,” Floden said. “Lucy helped us understand how those texts and tests fit into the way teachers planned and taught. She joined us on publications and presentations, helping us to be true to actual classroom practice.”

Later in her career, Bates-Byers—whose research expertise included the practical application of technology and curriculum integration—worked with fifth-year Teacher Preparation Program students during their internship placements as a field instructor.

Her connection to the college expanded into her personal life as well, when she later married Joe Byers, a longtime faculty member who retired in 1998 and passed away in 2016.

Together, they generously created a first-of-its-kind endowment awarded to college faculty: the Joe L. & Lucy Bates-Byers Endowment for Technology and Curriculum. For tenure-stream faculty, the award supports innovative research and scholarship in the integration of technology and curriculum. Associate Professor Christine Greenhow is the current recipient.

Memorial contributions may be made online to the Joe L. and Lucy Bates-Byers Endowment for Technology and Curriculum.