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logic was apparently lost on a colleague who saw an overabundance
of "A"s and "B"s posted on Goldberg's grade sheet. He complained
that Goldberg was giving easy grades to win points with students.
Goldberg was asked to defend himself before a faculty committee.
He swears he would have quit before changing his ways, but his students
intervened. "A bunch of them heard about this, went into the chair's
office and said, "You're out of your mind. This was the hardest
class we've ever had, but the guy forces us to learn," he recalls.
Goldberg later received an apology from his accusers.
the myth about Goldberg's courses today is that they're impossible
to pass. "He demands a lot of his students," says Annie Alpers,
student affairs manager in the Division of Life Sciences. "They
don't dare come to his class unprepared, because he calls on everyone
to participate." But most students eat it up, and Alpers says written
evaluations of Goldberg are among the most reverential she's seen.
"Many refer to the course as a life-changing experience," she says.
"They say he changed not just how they study, but how they feel
about themselves. They now feel there's no challenge they can't
student whose career path was altered by the Goldberg experience
is Pei Yun Lee, who came to UCLA intending to major in communication
studies. After spending a freshman quarter in Goldberg's HC 25 course,
she was hooked on science. "I was overwhelmed at first by the syllabus
and his teaching style, which I wasn't used to," Lee recalls. "But
he challenged us, and I ended up surprising myself with what I was
able to do." By her senior year, Lee was working in Goldberg's lab
and serving as an HC 25 teaching assistant. She was recently selected
one of 100 outstanding college students nationwide to present their
original research on Capitol Hill, received a National Science Foundation
Predoctoral Scholarship and will enter Caltech's biology program
the visionary, Goldberg looks to spread the scientific gospel and
pass on his knowledge to the next generation. "My goal, now more
than ever, is to teach students how exciting it is to be in science,"
says Goldberg. "We live in a technological society, and unless we
train people to be able to do the basic research, we're in deep
trouble. People don't understand the crisis that we're facing. Bright
kids are going to medical school; very few are interested in becoming
in the classroom, Goldberg makes the students a promise. "I and
my TAs will work as hard as we can to give you the absolute best
class that we can give you," he says. "I can assure you that 10
weeks from now, you won"t say that you have ever had a class like
this. This is not a class; it's an experience."
Gordon is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.