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Ed Burger, in First "Cherry Award" Lecture at Baylor, Says, "Create"

October 12, 2010

This fall, Ed Burger, one of America's finest teachers, took up his duties as a one-term lecturer and teacher at Baylor University.

Burger is the winner of the 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.

Calling his debut engagement "How to Discretely Teach Creativity: From Doodling to Discover," Burger, who has been at Williams College for two decades and was recently named its Lissack Professor for Social Responsibility and Personal Ethics, spoke during this season's gathering of the Central Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Speaking to the assembled mathematics educators, faculty, and students, Burger said,"Whenever you are faced with a very serious, complicated challenge in life, don't do it. Create easier questions. This is how the frontiers of mathematics and science move forward. With the creation of questions, we build insight. And in time, we are able to make a daunting challenge mathematically simple." 

In addition, "If someone asks a former student of yours what they remember from their math class 10 years ago, you should hope that they respond, 'Well, there were a lot of graphs and formulas I don't remember," Burger said. "But my math teacher taught me how to ask questions and not give in until I was able to understand. My math teacher taught me how to look at the world and see it in a crystal focus. My math teacher taught me how to think and create."

"He's got an incredible presence, and I've seen some very good teachers in my time," said Lance Littlejohn about Burger. Littlejohn is the head of Baylor's mathematics department. "He makes eye contact with everybody, refers to several people in the audience by name, and always has a wonderful way of articulating his message."

Burger will be meeting regularly with Baylor faculty members and teaching two mathematics courses.

For more, see the Math in the News item "Edward Burger Wins Cherry Award for Great Teaching" (February 4, 2010)

Source: The Lariat Online (October 7, 2010)

Start Date: 
Tuesday, October 12, 2010