The teacher becomes the student

As it does every year, MIT stayed active throughout the summer months, welcoming tourists snapping shots of the Great Dome, campers playing tag on North Court, and students hoping to brush up their computer coding skills, in almost equal measure. For three weeks in July, 10 professors from Tunisia joined the crowds in the Infinite Corridor, as they participated in the inaugural installment of the MIT-Educator program.

Headed by Hazel Sive, a professsor in the Department of Biology, the MIT-Educator program is the latest addition to the MIT-AFRICA Initiative, an umbrella that communicates and promotes MIT partnerships in Africa that focus on education, research, and innovation. Sive is Founding Coordinator of the Initiative. MIT-Educator encourages professors to think about what they do, how they do it, and how they might do it better, on a more intimate level than is possible for when their own classes are in session.

“Higher educators are very often thrown into being educators without much instruction. Faculty are smart and creative, so they’re able to get by, but there’s very little discussion about what it means to be a university educator or how to educate at the level required,” Sive says. “As a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, I’ve been interested for a while in bringing together the various expertise around MIT and setting up a collegial, thoughtful program that addresses those questions.”

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