Norbert Vance

A photo of Norbert Vance

Director of Sherzer Observatory

Physics and Astronomy Department

240K Strong Hall


[email protected]


  • BS, Biology, Eastern Michigan University, 1979
  • MS, General Science Education, Eastern Michigan University, 1984

Interests and Expertise

  • Scientific instrumentation specialist II for the Physics and Astronomy Department: designs, repairs and maintains all demo, lab and project equipment for the department
  • Oversees Physics & Astronomy shop and Maker Space operations, Rooms L010-L012
  • Maintains an extensive inventory of astronomical equipment at Sherzer Observatory, EMU Planetarium and Fish Lake Environmental Center in Lapeer, MI
  • Conducts use of KEEC (Fish Lake) for astronomy course field trips.
  • Directly involved in the reconstruction of Sherzer Observatory and astronomy lab following a devastating fire in March 1989
  • Directly involved in the establishment of the spherical planetarium classroom in the Mark Jefferson Science Complex in 2011
  • Instructor of ASTR 105 Exploration of the Universe since 1985
  • Developed EMU's ASTR 315 Observational Astronomy and ASTR 320 Planetarium Science courses, instructor
  • Lab supervisor of ASTR 204 Astronomical Investigations astronomy lab
  • Taught middle school general science and biology, seven years
  • Held various summer jobs in the auto industry in prototype car builds
  • Observational astronomy
  • Telescopes
  • Imaging
  • Astronomy education
  • Planetarium science
  • Earth science
  • Model rockets
  • NASA
  • Space exploration
  • History
  • Interest in classic cars, especially those of American Motors Corporation
  • Music: progressive rock, classical organ, synthesizers
  • Sports: hockey, skiing, winter sports
  • Grew up in suburban Detroit, Allen Park HS class of 1973, receiving a telescope from "Santa" in 1966 and looking skyward ever since the days of Apollo!

Publications and Presentations

  • "Practical Astronomy Exercises Using Starry Night Pro" ASTR 204 manual at EMU. Norbert Vance and Thomas Kasper

Grants, Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Achievement Recognition Award for Community Engagement and Service awarded by Eastern Michigan University in 2018 and 2023
  • Outstanding Michigan Earth Science Teacher Award (OESTA) awarded by Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA) in 2017


  • Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA)
  • Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA)
  • American Astronomical Society (AAS)
  • Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA)
  • Eastern Michigan University Astronomy Club, advisor
  • University Lowbrow Astronomers of Ann Arbor
  • International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)
  • Outspoken advocate for the return to and efforts for darker skies; reduce light pollution!

Additional Information

Acting Building Administrator for Strong Hall