May 17, 2017 - May 19, 2017
The American „Research Cooperation for Science Advancement“ (RCSA) with its “Cottrell Scholar Award Program” has funded a conference in Mainz, Germany and thus honored the proposal of the first two German Fulbright-Cottrell scholars who received their awards from the Fulbright Commission thanks to funding from the German federal ministry for education and science (BMBF).
The innovative theme of the conference was to demonstrate how the quality and outcome of teaching science can be increased. Several Cottrell scholars from the U.S. presented the latest research results on the assessment of student learning and how “better” teacher-scholars can achieve this. The conference offered many interactive workshops in which the 50 participants, all from German and European institutions including MPIs and all at the junior professor level, could understand the new American approaches and how these could be implemented in their own professional situation. A further major topic was the introduction of 1000 tenure track positions in Germany. This topic was lively discussed with Vice Presidents from University of Mainz, TU Darmstadt and KIT, BMBF, and RCSA.
In sum: the “Cottrell Scholar” network added innovative methods, data and encouragement to the concept of the “teacher-scholar” and thus to the well-deserved but undervalued recognition of scientists as (excellent) teachers. The “Building Bridges to Germany” conference almost literally paved the way for more transatlantic cooperation. The Fulbright-Cottrell scholars, four so far, are instrumental in this cooperation and in the dissemination of the new opportunities among their peers.