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Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching Names New Director

Bennett Goldberg to serve as assistant provost for learning and teaching

  • He will hold a faculty position in physics and astronomy department at Northwestern
  • Instrumental in increasing evidence-based and active-learning in STEM instruction
  • Lifelong champion for diversity and inclusion in education
  • Will bring passion for evidence-based innovation in learning and teaching to Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Bennett Goldberg has been appointed assistant provost for learning and teaching, director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching and professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University, effective Aug. 1, 2016.

Goldberg currently is the director of STEM Education Initiatives in the Office of the Provost at Boston University and a professor in physics, electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering and education. 

“Bennett Goldberg is a national voice in the scholarship of learning and teaching,” said Ron Braeutigam, associate provost for undergraduate education at Northwestern. “He will continue the groundbreaking work of Greg Light, former director of the Searle Center, in engaging faculty and administrators in the work of strengthening academic supports for all students, enhancing the culture of assessment and leading the implementation of new educational technologies.” 

Goldberg has an impressive portfolio of scholarship around learning and teaching. In his current role, he has been instrumental in working with colleges, departments and faculty to increase the amount of evidence-based and active-learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction and in developing and implementing training in teaching and learning for STEM Ph.D.s and postdoctoral fellows.

From 2004 to 2014, he was director of Boston University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology, which he founded, an interdisciplinary center with academic and industrial scientists and engineers. Goldberg also is the director of the nanomedicine program, which brings together faculty and researchers across two campuses in the physical sciences, engineering and medicine.

Goldberg is a lifelong champion for diversity and inclusion in education, having directed the National Science Foundation Graduate Students in K-12 education programs and served as the science liaison to local urban high schools. He and his colleagues have worked to develop an online course in AP Physics to provide access to students from underserved schools, and they have augmented the course with real and virtual tutoring from Boston University undergraduate students. Goldberg has adopted a hands-on approach to science education, building outreach events and programs for high school students from underserved public high schools and their parents as well as science learning and teaching modules for local elementary schools.

Goldberg will bring this passion for evidence-based innovation in learning and teaching practices to Northwestern, where he will lead the Searle Center in supporting faculty and students. In particular, he will play a key role in creating a more inclusive campus through ensuring effective academic support for all students, bolstering online and digital learning and enhancing the institutional implementation of academic assessment goals and objectives.

Goldberg received a B.A. from Harvard College in 1982 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from Brown University in 1984 and 1987, respectively. Following a Bantrell postdoctoral appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Francis Bitter National Magnet Lab, he joined the physics faculty at Boston University in 1989.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has been awarded a Sloan Foundation Fellowship and is a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigators Award. Goldberg’s research interests are in spectroscopy and nano-optics of low-dimensional materials, imaging through complex media, and single nanoparticle and virus imaging and detection.

Goldberg’s spouse, Dr. Lisa Hirschhorn, will join Northwestern as a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She currently is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of implementation and improvement science at Ariadne Labs. Her expertise includes global health, monitoring and evaluation and implementation and improvement science. 

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