BOG 2019: Researching the Science of Learning
The Dr. Garry Rayant and Dr. Kathy Fields-Rayant Minducate Learning Innovation Research Fund, dedicated to supporting Minducate, Tel Aviv University’s cross-disciplinary center in the science of learning, was inaugurated by the Rayants during the 2019 Board of Governors Meeting.
“This new partnership is a match made in heaven,” said outgoing TAU President Joseph Klafter. “On the one hand, we have a brilliant, curious, entrepreneurial couple who love learning – and on the other, we have Minducate, which nurtures brilliance, curiosity and entrepreneurship in the learning field.”
At the ceremony, he thanked the Rayants for their commitment to and involvement with Tel Aviv University and its American Friends Association. “In a nutshell, you are supporting a giant learning laboratory that will take education to the next level,” he said.
The couple, both of whom are TAU Governors and Global Campaign Cabinet members, expressed their excitement at being involved in the project. “It fulfills so many dreams for both of us,” said Dr. Garry Rayant. “We’ve already challenged the education system in the US, all the way from grade school through to college level. But we thought ‘why local? Let’s go global!’”
Dr. Kathy Fields-Rayant added that now is the time to shake up the centuries-old system of frontal learning into something more suitable for today’s youngsters: “Only TAU is taking up the challenge of rebooting learning for our digital age. No one else can do it,” she said.
The Rayants reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kathy is a Stanford-trained dermatologist who, along with Dr. Katie Rodan, is co-founder of the number one acne regimen, Proactiv Solution, and the number one skincare brand in North America, Rodan and Fields. Garry, who is originally from England where he trained as a dentist, is a specialist in periodontics and implant dentistry and an entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and a partner in Dear Doctor Magazine Inc., a national consumer healthcare publication.
Boosting research at the crossroads of learning and neuroscience
Minducate is a joint venture of the TAU Sagol School of Neuroscience and TAU Online–Learning Innovation Center. It aims to answer pressing questions for educators: Can we reinvent learning? Can we maximize each individual’s potential to learn? Can we close the gap between fast-paced scientific and technological advances on the one hand, and traditional schooling on the other? The vision of the Center is to design practical, scientifically validated approaches, tools and products to enhance learning. And initial findings are highly promising: The first projects generated novel teaching and learning techniques that are now being successfully tested on campus and in schools.
The Fields-Rayant Fund will substantially accelerate the pace of research and development at Minducate by supporting two post-doctoral researchers and four doctoral candidates each year for a five-year period. Fields-Rayant Fellows will be embedded in the laboratories of leading TAU principal investigators across a spectrum of departments in the sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences and arts. In addition, Fellows will benefit from mentoring, monthly group seminars, and research stipends according to need, and will attend the Annual Rayant Entrepreneurship Workshop designed to encourage market-oriented thinking and generate startup ideas.
The Fund is anticipated to help position Tel Aviv University and Israel at the forefront of EdTech – the burgeoning education technologies sector – worldwide.
Other speakers at the ceremony were Prof. Uri Ashery, head of the Sagol School of Neuroscience; Yuval Schraibman, founder and CEO of TAU Online; and two Minducate researchers: Tom Salomon, a 3rd year PhD candidate of neurobiology, and Inbar Lucia Trinczer, a PhD candidate of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education.