Biology professor of practice Robert A. Lue was named the first Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning Thursday, a sign of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ increased emphasis on innovative teaching, both in person and online.
Lue currently serves as director of the life sciences and faculty director of HarvardX—the University’s online education platform launched last spring as part of EdX. A key figure in reshaping aspects of the University’s curricula in the classroom and online in recent years, Lue said he will serve to unite those two areas in his new role at the Bok Center.
“I really do feel that we’re at a particularly exciting moment in terms of both faculty and students being ready to embrace new ways of teaching, and I really want the Bok Center to be a catalyst where undergraduates, graduate students, and professors can come together to push the envelope of how teaching is done at Harvard,” Lue said in an interview Thursday.
The Bok Center traditionally focuses on hands-on instruction and academic research to help young faculty and teaching fellows become better teachers.
Lue said he hopes that by coupling the educational tools provided by HarvardX with the Bok Center’s personal instruction, the center can more actively set the pedagogical agenda for 21st century faculty and students.
Administrators praised Lue as an innovator on Thursday, saying that under his leadership, they expect the Bok Center to take on increased importance for faculty members.
“We are very excited to have Rob’s vision, energy, and leadership at the Bok Center,” said Terry Aladjem, executive director of the Bok Center. “He has been an inspired innovator in science education, and in shepherding HarvardX, and he will certainly give the Bok Center and its mission new and greater prominence within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.”
Lue’s appointment is part of a broader administrative shift by the University to further develop HarvardX. FAS Dean Michael D. Smith announced in January that Colorado State University’s Huntington D. Lambert, a major figure in online education, will take over as head of the Division of Continuing Education in April. Lambert is the founder of CSU’s Global Campus, the first state-funded university to be entirely online, and is expected to develop the division’s presence online.
Lue also serves as director of the Harvard Allston Education Portal. He was previously the Dean of Harvard Summer School. He will begin his new role on March 1.
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