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Dr. Colwell's Remarks


Dr. Rita R. Colwell
National Science Foundation
NSF's Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

June 3, 2003

Thank you, Judith.1

Good evening, and thank you for joining us for NSF's 2003 Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Let me begin by offering my congratulations to this year's awardees.

This evening we're honoring six exemplary teachers for their outstanding contributions to both teaching and research.

At NSF, we know from experience that integrating teaching and research opportunities helps students both to deepen their knowledge and to connect their classroom learning to larger problems. It also allows them to experience the excitement of original scientific discovery.

Perhaps American poet, critic, and teacher, Mark Van Doren said it best: "the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."

We recognize this year's recipients, for the lasting contributions they make to the sciences, to education, and ultimately, to all of our lives.

Their leadership in their respective fields and their innovative style in facilitating student learning has earned them NSF's highest honor for excellence in teaching and research.

The Distinguished Teaching Award promotes an academic culture that endorses not only excellence in research and education, but the creative integration of the two.

The award was established in 2001 to promote an interest among academics in both disciplinary scholarship and in undergraduate education in mathematics, science, technology and engineering.

This program recognizes those faculty who bring the excitement and richness of scientific discovery to their students in all STEM disciplines.

In addition to recognizing a recipient's past efforts at connecting scientific research and education, this award is presented for the recipient's proposals for continuing their work, as well.

The Distinguished Teaching Scholars' program has several goals. The first is to foster the development of intellectual capital by identifying outstanding individuals with a history of substantial impact in both STEM research and in educating undergraduate students.

A second objective is to encourage the integration of research and education by providing resources that these pioneering educators can use to discover new ways of attracting undergraduates to contemporary research activities.

Another aim of the program is to enable instructors to share their experiences with, and mentor, other faculty who wish to improve the balance between their research and their teaching in STEM education.

A fourth goal is to promote an academic culture that values and rewards members of the academic community who contribute to both disciplinary scholarship and the education of undergraduates, including students majoring in non-scientific disciplines.

The DTS award is also designed to promote the scholars' influence and prestige so that dual efforts in teaching and research by other faculty will be recognized and rewarded.

A fifth goal of the program is to recognize the efforts of institutions of higher education that commit resources in support of faculty who effectively contribute to both discipline-related scholarship and science education.

And finally, the Distinguished Teaching Scholars program provides exemplary faculty-role-models who have the flexibility and resources to mentor undergraduates.

Now it is my distinct pleasure to introduce someone who shares our excitement and commitment to teaching and research, Jack Marburger.

Jack is a stalwart proponent of first-rate science, math, and engineering education for America's future.

As Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Jack oversees the nation's civilian and defense science and technology enterprise.

It is a job that proves more challenging everyday.

Jack assumed the role of Science Advisor at a difficult period for the nation. A month after 9/11, he received Senate confirmation and immediately took on the challenge of combating terrorism.

In addition to supporting research and development related to this effort, he's worked painstakingly at balancing other key priorities. High on the list of, course, is strengthening basic research, and ensuring that the nation maintains its world leadership in science and technology.

Jack has proven that he not only has the right credentials, but also the right experience for dealing with the unexpected and the unknown.

Prior to his appointment as Science Advisor, he served as Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and in 1980 he became the third President of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Jack began his career as a physicist with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Later he taught both physics and electrical engineering at USC and served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. While at USC he contributed to the rapidly growing field of nonlinear optics, a field created by the invention of the laser in 1960.

Clearly, Jack is no stranger to research or education.

Just as past OSTP Directors have brought rich and diverse perspectives to the position, I know I speak for all of us when I say Jack's leadership has proven equally vital to our nation's continued scientific and technological advancement.

We are delighted to have him here with us this evening. Please join me in welcoming Jack Marburger.

1 Dr. Judith A. Ramaley, Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation.
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