Blast from the past: 1997 Walter J. Gores Teaching Awards at Stanford w/ Condoleezza Rice

Just got this digitized. One of my proudest moments. In 1997 I received the Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching for my work on the “SME Core” at Stanford. The SME Core was a new way to teach Science, Math and Engineering for non science majors.


The SME Core was an initiative coordinated in part by then Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice.  I worked with her office on and off for 3 years to help get the SME Core program up and running.  (I note – whatever you think of her now – at the time I really really liked her – she was great to interact with, brilliant, and I think inspired in pushing this SME program).

For more on the SME Core see

It seems the SME Core may have gone away after I left Stanford.  But I think it was a great program – full year integrated courses that covered science, math and engineering on a specific topic.  I ended up helping design a course on Heart Disease (and was head TA).  And the faculty in the course changed my life – in particular interactions with David Botstein, Rick Myers and David Cox who were three of the four instructors – that is what got me into genomics.  But also – working on designing the course – and helping run it for two years – was an amazing experience.  By tracking / interacting with undergrads for a full year I got to know students at a level not possible in single quarter courses.  I will try to write more about the SME Core at some point but I was very proud to have received Stanford’s biggest teaching award – the Walter J. Gores Award for my work on the program.  So I am posting the video of the presentation because – well – I like it …

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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