Teaching Spotlight: Herman Eure

Herman Eure

Herman Eure

“Teaching is the most important thing that we do at Wake Forest. The platform might be different … but teaching is at the core. I hope that we never lose sight of this,” said Herman Eure, a Professor of Biology.

“No other university, besides Wake Forest, is positioned to encapsulate the ideal of the ‘collegiate university’.”

Eure, a former Assistant Dean of Faculty Development for the College, joined the faculty in 1974 after graduation from Wake Forest with a Ph.D. in biology. He and Dolly McPherson were the first tenure-track African American faculty members.

“What I hope to do as a teacher is to give the people in science the necessary underpinning to enable them to be able to go out and do what they want to do as a scientist,” he said, “but also want them to be a citizen of the world and understand what is going on …  I want students to leave informed: to come out, sit down, and be able to discuss, as a citizen of this country, issues that are germane to our success as a whole.”

Eure most recently was awarded the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service in 2012. He is also the reciepient of the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2001 and the inaugural Trident Professor Award from the Gamma Chapter of Delta Delta Delta in 1990.

“These two (the Reinhardt and Trident Awards) were pleasant surprises because what I value are those things that students recognize you for,” he said.

Eure takes his role as a teacher seriously, seeing it as major portion of his job. “When teachers go to the classroom and simply present the information as abstract data without presenting an opinion about what it they are shortchanging both the students and themselves,” he said. “I expect students to engage me in debate. But when you do this, make sure that you come to the debate table with information.”

“We teach students how to look at an argument, see the validity, scrutinize the data, and then be able to put together a logical reasoning for your position and be able to expound on that position,” he said. “Liberal Art remains the best way to develop the whole person. When I was in school, I took course as a Biology major that I though then, as a 19-year-old individual, I was never going to use this material. I now teach a course on Evolution, that blends biology, with physics, English, anthropology, sociology, and history.”