Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Academics urge universities to change culture to value teaching as highly as research

Date:
January 15, 2011
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
The reward systems at universities heavily favor science, math and engineering research at the expense of teaching, which can and must change, according to a group of academics.

The reward systems at universities heavily favor science, math and engineering research at the expense of teaching, which can and must change. That's the conclusion of UC Irvine biology professor Diane K. O'Dowd and research professors at Harvard University, Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and elsewhere.

Writing in the Jan. 14 issue of Science magazine, the authors note that professors have two responsibilities: to generate new knowledge and to educate students. But, they maintain, "although education and lifelong learning skills are of utmost importance," the promotions, awards and recognition given to science professors all emphasize research, while educating students "often carries the derogatory label 'teaching load.'"

"The problem is the culture of the university, which values research over everything else in the reward and promotion system," said O'Dowd, a developmental & cell biology professor, who wrote the commentary with Richard Losick, a molecular & cellular biology professor at Harvard, with input from 11 others.

The authors are trying to practice what they preach and have been rewarded for it. They're all research scientists who have received substantial funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create new programs that more effectively engage students in learning science.

"We're excited that these accomplished leaders have drawn on their experiences to take on this critically important challenge," said David Asai, director of HHMI's precollege and undergraduate education programs.

The Science piece outlines steps to "help transform our research universities" so that teaching and research are equally valued. The recommendations include training science faculty in best teaching practices; requiring teaching excellence for tenure and other promotions; creating peer discussion groups and cross-disciplinary programs that connect science faculty with education faculty; winning over department chairs, deans and college presidents; and creating awards and named professorships that support teaching.

UCI's science deans said many of the measures are already in place, including mandatory teaching reviews every two to five years.

"All University of California campuses require a formal evaluation of teaching commitment and effectiveness as part of every merit or promotion consideration," said Al Bennett, dean of UCI's School of Biological Sciences. "Teaching is taken very seriously, and substandard performance is grounds for denying a salary increase."

Acting physical sciences dean Ken Janda said: "We already do the things suggested, and constantly strive to improve our teaching responsibility -- even in a time of tight budget constraints."

O'Dowd said that while progress is being made, many challenges remain in properly valuing excellent teaching. She was encouraged that despite tough funding cuts this fall, her school retained small discussion sections of 30 students for freshman biology. They were led by grad students using innovative teaching techniques developed as part of her HHMI program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W. A. Anderson, U. Banerjee, C. L. Drennan, S. C. R. Elgin, I. R. Epstein, J. Handelsman, G. F. Hatfull, R. Losick, D. K. O'dowd, B. M. Olivera, S. A. Strobel, G. C. Walker, I. M. Warner. Changing the Culture of Science Education at Research Universities. Science, 2011; 331 (6014): 152-153 DOI: 10.1126/science.1198280

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Academics urge universities to change culture to value teaching as highly as research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141613.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2011, January 15). Academics urge universities to change culture to value teaching as highly as research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141613.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Academics urge universities to change culture to value teaching as highly as research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141613.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins