Teaching to Fail

3:30pm - 4:30pm EDT November 1, 2012

We encourage faculty, instructional technologists, librarians and others from the NITLE Network interested in fostering risk-taking and creativity in students to attend this seminar. (Times EDT)

Although we know that creativity requires the ability to take risks and learn from failures, our students typically are risk-averse and seek to avoid failure at all costs. How then can we foster risk-taking and creativity in our students? In this seminar, Edward B. Burger, Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, will explore the ultimate goals of education and how we are engineering our curriculum and classes to deliver on the promise of those lofty goals. Dr. Burger will lead a discussion to answer both questions, and celebrate the notion of “failing to succeed.”

This seminar will not be recorded.


Edward Burger is the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, an educational and business consultant, and most recently served as vice provost for strategic educational initiatives at Baylor University. He is the author of over 60 research articles, books, and video series (starring in over 3,000 on-line videos). Dr. Burger has won numerous awards, including the 2000 Northeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2001 MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo National Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics, 2003 Residence Life Teaching Award from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mathematical Association of America’s Chauvenet Prize (2004), Lester R. Ford Prize (2006), and Williams College’s Nelson Bushnell Prize for Scholarship and Teaching (2007). He also received the 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching: the largest and most prestigious prize in higher education teaching across all disciplines in the English-speaking world. He was named 2001-2003 Polya Lecturer by the MAA, and in 2007, 2008, and 2011, he received awards for his video work.

Dr. Burger is an associate editor of the American Mathematical Monthly and Math Horizons Magazine and serves as a Trustee of the Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2006, Reader’s Digest listed him in their annual “100 Best of America” as America’s Best Math Teacher. In 2010, he starred in a mathematics segment for NBC-TV on the Today Show and throughout Winter Olympics coverage, leading to a Telly Award the same year. The Huffington Post named him one of their 2010 Game Changers: “100 innovators, visionaries, mavericks, and leaders who are reshaping their fields and changing the world.” Microsoft Worldwide Education recently selected Dr. Burger as one of their “Global Heroes in Education.” In 2013, he will be inducted as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. (Twitter@ebb663 and @5thinking | Facebook: 5thinking)


Registration for this event is closed. (Participation in NITLE Shared Academics events is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.)


For more information about this event, please contact Rebecca Davis at rdavis@nitle.org.