On the Wright track

CBS' Robin Wright recognized for significant contributions to genetics education.


Robin Wright, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, will receive the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education for significant, sustained impact on genetics education. Recipients of this award are selected based on their contributions in promoting greater exposure to and deeper understanding of genetics through distinguished teaching or mentoring, developing innovative pedagogical approaches or tools, designing new courses or curricula, national leadership, and/or public engagement and outreach.

From the Genetics Society of America release:

"Consistent with her philosophy of linking research and education, Wright includes undergraduate students in all of her research. She seeks to teach how to think like and to actually be a biologist, working in teams and looking at real-world problems. This active approach to learning has taken off at the University of Minnesota, and has other universities looking to Wright for guidance. She emphasizes a learner-centered model of classroom work that promotes and enhances lifelong skills, and is described as having “transformed biological education at the University of Minnesota” through several efforts including developing the interactive, stimulating Foundations of Biology course sequence, emphasizing active learning and open-ended research; spearheading the construction of Active Learning Classrooms; and establishing Student Learning Outcomes, standards that measure biology education. She serves as founding Editor-in-Chief of CourseSource, focusing national effort to collect learner-centered, outcomes-based teaching resources in undergraduate biology."

Other 2014 GSA award recipients include Frederick Ausubel (Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital), Angelika Amon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute), Hugo Bellen (Baylor College of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute), and Charles Boone (University of Toronto).

Related: Science magazine recognizes the U’s approach to—and resounding success at—teaching introductory biology.