What would you do with a million dollars? Twenty scientists at research universities across the nation have 20 different answers. They all share a goal, however: to make science more engaging for undergraduates. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) today announced their appointment as its first HHMI Professors. Each is a leading researcher who will receive $1 million over the next four years to bring the creativity they have shown in the lab to the undergraduate classroom.
"Research is advancing at a breathtaking pace, but many university students are still learning science the same old way, by listening to lectures, memorizing facts and doing cookbook lab experiments that thousands have done before," says HHMI President Thomas R. Cech. "We want to empower scientists at research universities to become more involved in breaking the mold and bringing the excitement of research to science education." Cech is a biochemist who continued teaching undergraduates at the University of Colorado at Boulder even after he won a Nobel Prize.
HHMI isn't the only one to see opportunities for improving the way undergraduates are taught science. The National Academy of Sciences, the Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University and the National Science Foundation all have studied the matter and made recommendations for more engaging and effective approaches to undergraduate science education.
Teaching of undergraduates tends to be undervalued at research universities, notes Peter J. Bruns, vice president for grants and special programs at HHMI. "By rewarding great teaching and supporting a synergistic interaction between research and undergraduate education, we hope to sow seeds of a fundamental change in the culture of research universities. We want the HHMI Professors to demonstrate that active, productive scientists can be effective teachers too." Bruns, a leading geneticist from Cornell University, also taught undergraPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Jennifer Donovan
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
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