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International thought leader in education to speak June 7 at WKU

International thought leader in education to speak June 7 at WKU

UPDATE: This presentation has been cancelled due to unforseen circumstances. If you have questions, please contact The Center for Gifted Studies at 270-745-6323.

Harvard professor Eric Mazur, an internationally sought after speaker and thought leader in education, will speak during a free event June 7 at Western Kentucky University as part of the Mary Nixon Speaker Series in conjunction with the National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) Scholars program.

Mazur pioneered peer instruction, an interactive, student-centered teaching method that flips the traditional classroom and transfer of information for retention and deeper learning. He popularized the evidence-based approach at Harvard in the 1990s, and it is now practiced globally across multiple academic disciplines. His teaching methods have garnered a large national and international following.

The topic of his presentation, “Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning,” will explore how assessment fails to focus on skills relevant to life in the 21st century.

“Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to produce meaningful change in education,” he said.

The talk will be at 6 p.m. Central Daylight Time at the Russell Miller Theatre inside the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center at WKU. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged.

Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, the first recipient of the $500,000 Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education, the author of several books and the author or co-author of nearly 300 scientific publications.

NSCF Chairman Paula Grisanti is thrilled to have Mazur share his knowledge with the scholars, as well as the general public.

“Dr. Mazur’s proven peer instruction teaching method has transformed classrooms around the world for decades by using interaction to increase student engagement,” she said. “His beliefs about interactive teaching, educational technology and assessment tools continue to inspire teachers to rethink their approach to teaching, making him a great fit for the NSCF Scholars program. Our hope is that by giving middle school science teachers the opportunity to learn from him, we can reach hundreds, if not thousands, of students through their classrooms today and in the future. We also are delighted to open his remarks to the public as we welcome such a world-renowned expert to Kentucky.”

Each year the NSCF Scholars program selects 10 middle school science teachers from across the United States to take part in a weeklong advanced professional development workshop, as well as follow-up resources and project funding, with the long-term goal of inspiring the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students nationwide. The second cohort of scholars will be at WKU June 4 – 10. The program is a partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU.

The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) is a charitable 501(c)3 organization that funds adult stem cell and regenerative medicine research to accelerate treatment options, advocates for patients participating in clinical trials and supports STEM education to inspire the next generation of researchers and scientists nationwide. For more information, visit

Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is Kentucky’s first state-supported, residential program for high school students with interests in advanced math and science careers. One of only 15 such programs in the nation, The Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for eight consecutive years. For more information, visit

Dr. Paula Grisanti, Chairman
National Stem Cell Foundation
(502) 379-8544  

Dr. Julia Link Roberts, Executive Director
The Gatton Academy
(270) 745-6323

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