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(01/29/14 7:07pm)

Professor Philip Rea recently won a fellowship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his innovative teaching style and research. However, “teaching,” is not the word that Rea would use to describe his profession. “The art of teaching is sharing your passion for an area,” he said. He emphasized the importance of giving students “the opportunity to discover something for themselves.” Rea, who is also the director of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, employs this philosophy in the classroom by teaching concepts and methods rather than having students memorize rote facts. In BIOL 402, a biochemistry course, a major portion of the grade is based on a take-home test. The theory behind this assignment is that it simulates the research setting, and “more often than not, the best idea happens when you are relaxed,” Rea explained. Teaching assistants are told not to penalize students for using the wrong terms if the method behind their work is correct. College senior Winona Wu, a two-time student of Rea’s, was inspired to pursue a major in biology because of the classes she took with him. “[He helps students] develop a strong curiosity about biology that moves us to want to learn more,” she said. “He’s not afraid to challenge his students,” College senior Sanjeethan Baksh added. “If you get a good grade, you really feel like you worked for it.” Wu also recalled Rea literally jumping around the lecture hall with excitement when she took his class. “He always seems really happy to be in the classroom.” Duke University biology professor and Chair of the Biological Sciences Divison of AAAS, Dennis Thiele, immediately thought of Rea when given the opportunity to nominate a distinguished scientist and teacher for the fellowship. “His work has resulted in discoveries that truly will stand the test of time,” Thiele said of Rea’s research in membrane transport. “His teaching and his research actually have synergized with each other,” he added. Rea is currently writing a biochemistry textbook that uses a problem-solving approach — similar to that which he uses in his own classes. He also has written and continues to write journalistic science pieces so that he can “illustrate to the lay person how interesting and beautiful [science] is,” he explained. “I consider Professor Rea to be the consummate professor,” Thiele said. “He does it all.”