School of Education
March 1, 2009
Professor Enters 18th Year of Teaching, Research, and Publication at UC Irvine
I joined the UC Irvine Department of Education in 1992, shortly after its name change from the Office of Teacher Education. At that time, the Department had only three full-time professors, so as an academic unit we were quite small.
I was hired as a professor of science education, and for two years taught science teaching methods in the teacher credential program. It made sense for me to be hired in this position because my dissertation and subsequent publications were in science learning, and also because I am a former high school science teacher. However, I now think of myself more as an educational psychologist, though this field obviously has applications to student learning in science among other disciplines.
Before coming to UCI, I was on the research staff of Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. When I joined the UCI faculty, I had the professorial luxury of pursuing any academic interest relevant to education and no longer needed to conduct research on testing. I gravitated to the study of human intelligence. The accumulated research convinced me that, rather than being fixed and innate, intelligence is a collection of cognitive knowledge and skill learned from experience. Even more provocative, the research indicated that if intelligence is gained from experience, then it can be taught directly as one function of education. The case for this stance was presented in my book, “Education as the Cultivation of Intelligence.”
I continue to be interested in intelligence and its cultivation, but I’m also captivated by a conviction that the accumulated research and theory on human learning has tremendous practical value. It is extremely interesting as well, which I hope is conveyed to my undergraduate and graduate students when I teach courses on the subject. My attempt to organize and present what is known about the mind is expressed in my second book, Learning and Cognition: The Design of the Mind.
I feel privileged to be a member of the faculty of the Department of Education and UC Irvine broadly. To be part of a community of such talented students, staff, and faculty is intensely rewarding.