On Campus

Physics professor Brian Cole is renowned for Accelerated Physics, his two-semester course for first-year students that covers the usual introductory physics sequence, plus relativity, waves and introductory quantum mechanics.

For Souleymane Bachir Diagne, a professor of French and philosophy, teaching is about finding the right balance in the classroom.

Asked what makes a good teacher or good student, Molly Murray (CC’94) responds simply, “Curiosity … an openness to new ideas and a willingness to follow them where they lead, into the library or out of it.” She also takes the word “curiosity” back to its Latin root, cura or “care,” and add

Stathis Gourgouris, a professor of classics, English and comparative literature who directs the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, believes that antiquity has relevance to contemporary life. In the classroom he strives to make connections across centuries and regions.  

Columbia’s urban setting is central to Rebecca Kobrin’s teaching and research.

As an undergraduate at Purdue University, Brad Garton majored in pharmacy because “growing up in the Midwest, being a musician wasn’t a legitimate job.”

A number of years ago, a student reviewing a class taught by Dorothea von Mücke summed up how the professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures taught the course Literature Humanities this way: “Professor von Mücke refuse

On Campus story

Li Feng brings his background as an archaeologist and historian of early China to bear on his teaching, at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Great teachers are passionate about the classroom, as evidenced by the 11 faculty members honored this year with Lenfest Distinguished Teaching Awards. Some were nominated by their students, others by their fellow professors or department chairs.

Georg Friedrich Haas

Georg Friedrich Haas with his three upright Yamaha pianos, one tuned according to standard pitch and the other two to pitches smaller than a half step to accommodate his own microtonal compositions and his teaching. Photo by Eileen Barroso.

When the Berlin Philharmonic performed the Georg Friedrich Haas piece dark dreams at Carnegie Hall last October, critics were ecstatic and some audience members booed.

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