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By teaching at Oberlin, faculty members have chosen to work with undergraduates, and they commit themselves to excellent teaching and close work with students. But outstanding teaching is only half of Oberlin's education equation. Every faculty member also pursues active and continuing research. This work keeps professors current in their field, which then informs what takes place in Oberlin's classrooms and instructional laboratories.

“We have professional faculty members who make real contributions to their fields, not just people who interpret their fields to their students,” says David Benzing, Robert S. Danforth Professor of Biology. (Information about faculty members' research interests and publications can be found in each department's web site.)

This dual commitment to teaching and research requires extraordinary amounts of energy and time. “Teaching and research do compete for time,” says Biology Professor Yolanda Cruz. “But I like teaching, and I would never give it up for a purely research job. Doing significant research at a teaching institution is hard, even with good students to help. But I think you can—and should—do both.”

“I want to be engaged in teaching and research, and both in a serious way. There aren't too many places where you can do that,” agrees Geology Professor Bruce Simonson, several of whose former students are now professional colleagues. “Understanding how the earth works drives me intellectually. Working with students and getting them excited gives me new insights.”

Students gain clear benefits from Oberlin's faculty of teacher-researchers. They are taught by working scientists who bring their own sense of discovery and love of learning into the classroom.

Students also play an important—even essential—role in faculty research. Because there are no graduate students at Oberlin, many faculty members involve student assistants in their own research. A good number of these collaborations result in jointly authored articles for professional journals. “In the 10 years I've been here, I've worked with about 30 students in a close, one-on-one way. That is what allows me to keep my research alive,” says Associate Professor of Physics Dan Stinebring.

Such collaborations can have lasting effects. “One of the most satisfying aspects of my career has been maintaining contacts with former students who have gone on to do great things—some are working at major universities, some have made major discoveries,” Benzing says.
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