Dr. Eric Mazur Awarded $500,000 Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education

May 20, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – The Minerva Academy today announced Dr. Eric Mazur as the first winner of the Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education. In recognizing Dr. Mazur for his significant contributions to improving higher education, the Academy recognized his development of Peer Instruction, an innovative teaching method that incorporates interactive pedagogy into the classroom and has been recognized worldwide for driving dramatic improvements in student learning outcomes. Dr. Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics and Area Dean for Applied Physics at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The Minerva Prize, which opened for global nominations in April 2013, recognizes one faculty member from any institution worldwide who has made a significant impact on student learning experiences through extraordinary innovation in higher education. The Minerva Prize will be officially awarded to Dr. Mazur at the Minerva Academy Summit in October 2014. He will receive a $500,000 cash prize as part of the award. Earlier this year, Dr. Mazur was inducted as a founding member of the Minerva Academy, recognized for his contributions and innovative thinking in the area of teaching excellence along with thirteen other esteemed academics.

“Members of the Academy unanimously and enthusiastically agreed on the selection of Dr. Mazur as the first recipient of the Minerva Prize,” said Dr. Roger Kornberg, Nobel Laureate and Governor of the Minerva Academy. “His development of the Peer Instruction teaching methodology, now broadly adopted, embodies the innovation in teaching excellence that the Minerva Prize was conceived to recognize and promote. We are pleased to bestow this honor upon an individual who has contributed so greatly to the advancement of teaching and with such passion for improving student learning outcomes.”

An internationally recognized scientist and researcher, Dr. Mazur leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University. In 1990 he began developing Peer Instruction, a method for teaching large lecture classes interactively. The Peer Instruction method engages students through activities that require each learner to apply the concepts being presented. Students then explain those concepts to fellow learners, involving the entire group. Questions are asked, discussed and then displayed using classroom response technology. Peer Instruction provides continuous assessment and feedback, forcing students to learn from each other while in the classroom to facilitate lifelong understanding.

Dr. Mazur’s teaching method has developed an extensive following, both nationally and internationally, and has been adopted across many science disciplines. He is the author or co-author of 219 scientific publications and 12 patents. He has also written on education and is the author of Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively. In 2006, he helped produce the award-winning DVD Interactive Teaching.

In October of 2011, Dr. Mazur joined Turning Technologies’ senior leadership team as Chief Academic Advisor. As Chief Academic Advisor, Dr. Mazur offers guidance to product development and supports the company’s ongoing efforts to add product capabilities that easily facilitate innovative pedagogical approaches and methods in learning environments. He also provides recommendations on how to best address educators’ needs and challenges and how to further leverage the proven, effective pedagogical uses of the company’s products and services. Dr. Mazur is a regular keynote speaker at Turning Technologies User Conferences held both domestically and in internal locales. Previously, he served as Chairman of the company’s Instructional Strategies Advisory Group.

The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship is a non-profit that attracts and directs financial support towards academic programs for Minerva students and cutting-edge research for Minerva faculty. The Minerva Institute houses the Minerva Academy, an elite society of educators. Nobel Laureate Dr. Roger Kornberg serves as Governor of the Academy, an honorary institution and forum for open exchange of new ideas and enhanced practices in higher education instruction.

For more information, please visit http://www.minervaproject.com/institute/.

About Turning Technologies:
Turning Technologies creates leading instructional, assessment delivery and data collection solutions for learning environments. Founded in 2002, the company began with the development of response technology that was affordable, user-friendly and better documented so that users could easily grasp its benefits. Today, over 15 million response devices have been delivered to K-12 schools, universities and businesses worldwide. As the recognized leading provider of assessment delivery and data collection systems, Turning acquired eInstruction in 2013 to expand both its market share and product offerings across all industry segments. eInstruction is a proud pioneer in education technology with more than 30 years of experience and a diversified solution set that includes innovative classroom instruction systems, interactive whiteboards, research-based software and professional development that facilitate significantly higher levels of collaboration, engagement and achievement across all stages of the learning process. Adding to its robust product portfolio, Turning also now offers the Triton Data Collection System, a technology-enabled testing solution that combines the front end ease of paper testing with the efficiencies of computer-based testing, rock solid reliability and security for various assessment and certification environments. Based in Youngstown, OH, information on Turning Technologies can be found at www.TurningTechnologies.com. Follow @TurningTech.