Alan Brinkley, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Drew Gilpin Faust: Leading efforts for universities to focus on teaching not just research





... [N]ine prominent professors are leading an effort [at Harvard] to rethink the culture of undergraduate teaching and learning. Headed by Theda Skocpol, a social scientist, the group has issued a report calling for sweeping institutional change, including continuing evaluation and assessment of teaching and learning, and a proposal that teaching be weighed equally with contributions to research in annual salary adjustments....

The report is among the initiatives that Drew Gilpin Faust is expected to address when she takes over as president in July....

Columbia is taking the Harvard report into account as it moves through its own review, said Alan Brinkley, Columbia’s provost. “If we’re going to ask some undergraduates to pay as much as $47,000 a year to come to these elite universities,” he said, “then we have an obligation to make sure they get a great education.”

One of the most significant aspects of the report, Dr. Connor said, is the stature of the professors who worked on it. In addition to Professor Skocpol, the group includes Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian; Xiao-Li Meng, the chairman of the statistics department; and Eric Mazur, a physicist who is known for his innovative teaching as well as his research....



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