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Transcript: Emily Bernard on teaching and why UVM is different

So UVM I think is exceptional in that our faculty excel not only in terms of production of scholarship but also in terms of teaching. Teaching is regarded here. Whereas one thing I think is still true at a lot of first year research intuitions is that teaching is really ... to be good a good teacher is almost looked down upon. It's almost like having scholarship that's actually readable. You're not as serious a scholar if you devote yourself to your teaching.

But at a school like UVM that balances both research and teaching, there's a respect for undergraduate teaching, so you don't have to be embarrassed that that's your pleasure, as it is mine. You’re encouraged to pursue that, you're encouraged to model or to size down if you will graduate type classes so they're actually useful for undergraduates. There's an idea that these things are interconnected. You can be an excellent scholar and be an excellent teacher. And that they can inform each other. You can become a better scholar by being a better teacher. And it's a wonderful thing because we're allowed also as instructors to create our own balance and we're supported by the university to do that.

I really love teaching. It's as important to me as my writing. To me it's one and the same. It's one of ... I am just learning to be a good teacher. I learn from my students. I learn from my colleagues. I learn from the books themselves. Teaching is a source of great pleasure for me. But it's also place of work. To me it's a great balance because it requires so much of you. In both senses. You have to bring your joy to it, but you also have to bring some labor as well.

We have an excellent faculty here and it gets better all the time. I mean we were just able to attract some nationally renowned people here, you can go through the faculty web page and see.

And there are people who are here because they are committee to undergraduate teaching. These are people who have had opportunities and have been pursued by other institutions. Some predictable places, but many of them choose to stay here because of the alchemy we have, the way that they are recognized and they have been supported here because they’re committed to their teaching and committed to doing excellent scholarship as well. Nothing is compromised. That's not the attitude at the university — that one thing has to be compromised for the other thing to grow. So we do. It think it's incredibly unique in that we have both excellence in scholarship and we also have some tremendous teachers and together in one package teaching undergraduate students.

Last modified January 07 2013 04:44 PM