2nd Dean's Conversation

  Changing Education at Harvard:
What 20 Years of Research Tells Us About Effective Teaching and Advising

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2nd Semi-annual Social Science Dean's Conversation, 03 December 2009
CGIS Tsai Auditorium, Harvard University

It has been said that Harvard students are so talented they would learn even if locked in a closet for four years. How can we improve on such self-instruction? In this second Social Science "Dean's Conversation," Stephen Kosslyn (Dean of Social Science) moderates a discussion between professors Richard Light and Eric Mazur about their separate approaches to studying how to maximize learning and engagement in undergraduates.

ERIC MAZUR is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics (SEAS). Dr. Mazur believes that better science education for all -- not just science majors -- is vital for continued scientific progress. To this end, Dr. Mazur devotes part of his research group's effort to education research and finding verifiable ways to improve science education. In 1990 he began developing "Peer Instruction", a method for teaching large lecture classes interactively.

RICHARD LIGHT is the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education (GSE). In 1988 Dr. Light began a sustained and systematic program, continuing to this day, of gathering data to assess and enhance students' learning and their undergraduate experience here at Harvard College. Dr. Light is currently focusing on the role of strong advising for undergraduates, and how adding certain non-traditional discussion groups can further enhance students’ already rich experiences.