Eric-MazurPULLMAN, Wash. – A Harvard physicist who has achieved success as a pioneer of interactive learning will conduct three workshops for faculty March 24-25 and present a talk at noon Friday, March 25, in Abelson 201 at Washington State University.

In “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer,” Eric Mazur, dean of applied physics at Harvard University, will discuss how he adjusted his approach to teaching from passive lecturing to active engagement and how this in turn improved his students’ performance significantly. A reception will follow.

“Eric is at the forefront in actively addressing real deficiencies in higher education,” said Tom Dickinson, WSU Regents professor of physics and astronomy. “His early abandonment of the traditional lecture format has led to many practical innovations that will be helpful to many of us.”

In three small group workshops, Mazur will talk with faculty about discipline specific approaches to teaching:
Physical sciences: 10:30 a.m.-noon March 24 in Webster 1243.
Engineering: 2-3 p.m. March 24 in Dana 138.
Life sciences: 3-4 p.m. March 25 in Bustad 110J.

Mazur supervises one of the largest research groups in the physics department at Harvard. In education, he is best known for implementing teaching methods that increase the “active learning” component of classroom instruction.

He is the author of “Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual,” a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively, and “Principles and Practice of Physics,” a book that integrates key physics concepts into problem solving tasks. In 2006, he helped produce the award-winning DVD “Interactive Teaching.”

Mazur is the founder of Learning Catalytics, a platform for promoting interactive learning in the classroom. In 2014, he was awarded the inaugural Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education from the nonprofit Minerva Institute, an advocate of higher education research and scholarship.

Mazur’s presentation is the S. Town Stephenson Distinguished Lecture hosted by the WSU Department of Physics and Astronomy.