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the first day of the quarter, the students seem unsure about what
to make of his high-octane, probing style. "Where's Erica? I know
that you're a senior, and I know that you major in history, correct?
So provide a hypothesis for me that can account for the difference
in the size of those chromosomes.
is Patrick? What's your major? What are you leaning toward? Well,
maybe we'll hook you on genetics. What is your hypothesis for the
different colors on this chromosome? Design an experiment to show
that your hypothesis is correct. That's the scientific method -
you have a hypothesis, and now we have to show it scientifically.
"Joshua, are you here? You're a business major, so you must know
all about the biotech industry. If we have access to the genes from
any organism on the face of this Earth, and all of the cellular
processes are similar in these organisms, and the DNA is similar
in general structure, what does that predict that we can do with
any gene of any organism? That's right, we can interchange them.
Do you realize the implications of that statement?? By the end of
the quarter, longtime Goldberg observers promise, students who were
shy at the outset will practically leap out of their seats to join
has received two of the highest honors bestowed on UCLA professors,
earning the Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992 and the
Gold Shield Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research in 1998.
But his teaching methods haven't always won unanimous praise.
three years on the faculty at Detroit's Wayne State University,
Goldberg came to UCLA in July of 1976 as an assistant professor
of biology. He was 32 years old and full of new ideas about how
science should be taught. Within nine months, he was ready to quit.
Goldberg's classroom style is seen as novel today, it was downright
radical in 1976. "My colleagues thought I was from Mars," he says.
But the incident that nearly led him to resign from his prestigious
new position had to do with his approach to grading. "We had this
stupid rule that you had to grade on a curve, and I refused to do
it," he recalls. Goldberg has always struck a deal with his students:
He tells them at the beginning of the course what he wants them
to learn, he guides them through the learning process, and if the
students fulfill their end of the agreement they receive an "A."
On the other hand, the challenge Goldberg sets is so formidable
that it filters out the less-motivated students.