Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology


by Richard Losick

January 14th, 2011

Rich Losick

Professors at large research universities have two important responsibilities: generating new knowledge and educating students. Sometimes these missions are seen as being in competition. Indeed, we have all heard the term “teaching load” and at some institutions professors can buy out of teaching (“teaching release”) with large grant support. I have been lucky enough to win funding from the HHMI through its Professors program to support educational activities.

I am one of thirteen current HHMI Professors, all of whom have banded together to promote the idea that teaching and research need not be mutually exclusive. Instead, we argue, they can act synergistically to increase the effectiveness of both.

The article in the Education Forum of Science magazine is an opinion piece on changing the culture at large research universities so that teaching and research can be seen more broadly as equally valuable and mutually reinforcing. Representing a wide range of institutions from large public universities to wealthy private universities, we present seven initiatives for promoting and recognizing the teacher-scientist and for educating faculty members about evidence-based approaches to effective learning.

Members of the MCB community will recognize local influences in the recommendations, such as our Dudley Herschbach Teacher-Science lecture series and our peer support groups for teaching.

Read more in Science




View Richard Losick's Faculty Profile