Teaching Initiatives

Please find below Skip Rankin's June 2014 report on the Class of 1972 Teaching Initiatives.

Teaching Initiative Report  - 2014


October 25, 2014

To: Bob Wright

From: Skip Rankin

Re: Class of 1972 Teaching Initiatives

I am pleased to report on the teaching initiatives by members of the Princeton University faculty that have been supported by the Class of 1972 Endowment Fund for Initiatives in Undergraduate Education. To date, our class has supported the following teaching initiatives:

  1. a course entitled Conservation and Biodiversity, Science and Policy for an Endangered Planet, taught by Andy Dobson of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, together with The Woodrow Wilson School;

  2. a British history lecture course (as reorganized), taught by Professor Frank Trentmann of the Department of History;

  3. a vertebrate biology course offered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;

  4. a freshman seminar entitled "Sound, Image, Movement, Meaning: Collaborations in Multimedia” offered by the Department of Music;

  5. a course on "World Literature” offered by the Department of Comparative Literature as a "gateway” course to the Department and to the study of literature generally.

  6. a course offered by the School of Engineering and Applied Science to demonstrate the fundamental connections among engineering, math and physics;

  7. a course offered by the Department of East Asian Studies to convey to Princeton undergraduates an appreciation for the study of Chinese, Japanese and Korean civilizations;

  8. a course offered by the Center for African American Studies, entitled "The Civil Rights Movement in the United States”;

  9. a freshman seminar entitled "Transformations of an Empire: Power, Religion, and the Arts of Medieval Rome;

  10. a course offered by the School of Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering entitled: Networks: Friends, Money and Bytes. This is an inter-disciplinary and foundational course and is the pioneer course offered by Princeton online, under arrangements with Coursera; and

  11. a course taught by David Spergel ’83, Charles Young Professor of Astronomy and Chair, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, in the Fall 2013 and entitled "Imagining Other Earths.” This course, based on a freshman seminar, is being offered as a Coursera course, and will introduce students to a range of key concepts in astronomy, physics, chemistry and evolutionary biology.

  12. a course taught by Maria A. DiBattista entitled "Modern Portraits: Literature, Painting, Phtography, Film." This course is being offered by the Department of Comparative Literature.

A Little History

The background:


Teaching Initiative Archive

Previously posted articles on the Teaching Initiative can be accessed here. These include:

  •      Bob Wright's on the letter to the Class on the Coursera initiative
  •      Doug Harrison's commentary on our first open course - Networks, Friends, Money, and Bytes
  •      Skip Rankin's letter from  2012 outlining the details of the initiative 
  •      Skip Rankin's letter from  2013 outlining the details of the initiative 

A tabulation of all Princeton Coursera offerings (including those sponsored by the Class of 72) can be found here: