William O. McClure
Dr. McClure came to USC in 1975 after being trained in biophysical chemistry at Caltech and the University of Washington, and having held faculty positions at the Rockefeller University and the University of Illinois. His research interests concern the chemical bases of the mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. He has been an active teacher since he first began his training, and has won awards in teaching at many institutions. As a teacher, he is interested in two major areas: training of graduate students and the presentation of technical material to non-science majors.
"Our graduate students represent both a tremendous pool of scientific talent and our next generation of scientific educators. To help train them as teachers should be an important goal of the university." Dr. McClure is active in the training of graduate students as teaching assistants.
Teaching science in a way which reaches those whose major interest is not science is difficult. It is a particular challenge to present to non-majors the thrill of discovery which is so important to scientists, and to allow a non-major to appreciate the excitement of the first observation of a new fact or idea. Equally important is helping the non-major appreciate the art and creativity in science. Art and creativity are as important in science as they are in film, painting, sculpture, music, literature, and other more traditional fields. Anyone can appreciate - at some level - work by Rembrandt, Picasso, Mendelsohn, or Hemingway; unfortunately, not anyone can appreciate an equally beautifully crafted paper in science. The technical aspects of science nearly always obscure the art, with the result that only the cognescenti are allowed to view the beauty of the art in a scientific paper. To make the art in science come alive for those who are not technically skilled presents a challenge to the teacher in this area. Dr. McClure has taught award-winning courses for non-scientists at USC in both the general education program and Thematic Option, and looks forward to continuing to develop new methods in this area.
USC students have recognized this dedication, honoring him with both the Mortar Board Faculty Outstanding Teacher Award and the Panhellenic USC Faculty Member of the Year Award (which he has won each of the past 10 years). In 1995, he received the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2002 he received the first 'Teaching Has No Boundaries' Award and in 2003 he was awarded the Presidential Medallion.