Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
As readers of this Mailing List, you are aware of the increasing
attention given to advancing the scholarship of teaching and
learning. A major player in this effort has been the Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The posting below is an
excerpt from a new book, Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship
of Teaching and Learning, edited by Pat Hutchings, senior scholar at
the Foundation. The book is a collection of essays by eight faculty
on their efforts to examine their teaching and their students'
learning in ways that will advance practice. "Each case study
documents a process of reflection and analysis, illustrating a wide
range of methods for undertaking such work in different fields and
diverse institutional contexts."
The excerpts are taken from the Lessons Learned sections of four of the
cases. They will give you an idea of the opportunities and challenges faced
by faculty seeking to make a contribution in this very important domain.
More information about the book, including ordering directions can be found
UP NEXT: Half-Time Tenure Track Could Level Professorial Playing Field
Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
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OPENING LINES: APPROACHES TO THE SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING AND LEARNING
Pat Hutchings, Editor
A Publication of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
?2000 The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Reprinted with permission.
CASE STUDY 1. Investigating Student Learning in a Problem-Based
Psychology Course, William Cerbin, Psychology, University of
What I would say to others attempting this kind of work is that:
Find something that you really care about, something you're really
interested in learning about, something that fascinates you. Like
all forms of scholarship, the scholarship of teaching has to be
motivated, finally, by personal commitments. There have to be
aspects of teaching and learning that pique your curiosity, and those
are the things that you should go after in your investigations. The
wrong reason to do the scholarship of teaching is because its now
listed in the criteria for promotion and tenure; that's a formula for
turning important work into just a job, one more hurdle or task. I
think there's an important message here about passion, and pursuing
ideas that really matter to you.
CASE STUDY 4. A Chemical Mixture of Methods, Dennis Jacobs, Chemistry,
University of Notre Dame
One thing that was very helpful right at the beginning was to think
in a much bigger framework than I was accustomed to. Interacting in
an interdisciplinary spirit with many other scholars allowed me to
see what was possible and to hear and learn about lines of questions
that I had never thought about before.
Similarly, I wouldn't advise that one lock into a particular
project design prematurely. In the spring before the first meeting
with other Carnegie Scholars, I had my project focus and mission
pretty clearly in mind. Then in June, when I started talking with
others and seeing what they were doing, I rethought a lot of what I
originally had in mind. I began to discover in more detail what the
scholarship of teaching entailed, and I found myself asking, with
others, What does it mean to gather evidence of deeper understanding?
Assessment was something I had never dealt with prior to this project
in any meaningful way. My point here is that its good to stay open
to new possibilities, to think about options and alternatives, and to
be willing to reframe the effort as your thinking evolves.
I would also say in hindsight that periodic conversations with others
can be invaluable. Seize any chance to maximize those opportunities.
One thing I haven't done much of and I feel badly about it is to
carry on conversations with my fellow Carnegie Scholars between
meetings, in part because I realized how busy everyone is. I don't
want to burden them by asking them to spend time reading my work. On
the other hand, I know they are generous people and interested in my
project. So my advice is to set up those relationships early on and
establish some shared understanding about the level of interaction
sought by each.
Finally, a thought about audiences for the work. In framing questions
and projects, its important to begin with audience analysis,
anticipating what questions will come to the readers minds, what
things they might be skeptical about. And this is complicated because
of the several audiences one might try to reach. There's an audience
of consumers of the scholarship of teaching and learning, who want to
know what pedagogical methods work and how to make their own teaching
more effective. We most often think of addressing faculty in our own
discipline. But another audience consists of faculty already doing
this kind of scholarship, who will look at a study not to learn
innovative ways to teach general chemistry but for models of how to do
this kind of scholarship. I think it's important to consider the ways we
present our work in order to reach each of these different audiences.
The scholarship of teaching and learning will emerge as a legitimate
and valued academic activity only if we make the methods, results and
conclusions of our projects widely accessible and open to peer review.
CASE STUDY 5. For Better or Worse? The Marriage of Web and Classroom,
T. Mills Kelly, Texas Tech University
I'd urge colleagues interested in the scholarship of teaching to begin
by identifying where the resources are to help do the work. I sort
of missed this step because, frankly, I didn't realize there were
resources and community I could tap into. Or rather, I turned to the
research but I neglected to find the people. The best advice I have
is that you don't need to invent this all by yourself. Find people
doing similar work.
Some of those people - many of them - are not here on any campus, but
even here its getting easier. Texas Tech has a new Teaching Academy
which has a proposal in front of the provost to add to the existing
distinguished professorship for research a parallel distinguished
teaching professorship. This will get peoples attention because it
has the same large salary bump added to your base. That piques
Second, I advise people to deal with the issue of time. Money is
nice and monetary awards cause people to pay attention, but release
time is even more important, in my experience. Unless you teach a
reduced load (by Texas law I have to teach three organized courses a
semester), the scholarship of teaching is an optional activity. To do
it and to do it well requires time, and time is harder to come by than
CASE STUDY 8. Difficulty: The Great Educational Divide, Mariolina
Rizzi Salvatori, English, University of Pittsburgh
There are ways of doing ones scholarship and using the classroom as
the testing ground for that scholarship. Institutions should
encourage young faculty to acknowledge and remedy the fact that what
the culture at large sees as "scholarship" does not necessarily include
what we mean by the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Institutions should make it possible for the young faculty to learn
to do in the classroom what they have learned and have been expected
to do in the "scholarly" publications that earn them tenure. And
young faculty need to learn to articulate in their own terms to other
faculty and administrators what they are doing in their classroom.
need to disabuse skeptical or misinformed administrators of assuming
that teaching is an off-the-cuff, improvisational activity that can
provide a refuge from "real scholarship." This view of teaching
devalues teachers, students, scholarship, and institutions.
Let me end with two specific and direct suggestions gleaned from my
own reflections on my teaching: First, don't try to imitate the "model
teachers" you admire. Study what they do, but translate what they do
into strategies that work for you, strategies that are extensions and
representations of your theoretical framework. Look closely at what
you know, at the knowledge that is the subject matter of your
scholarly work and write an assignment, or a sequence of assignments,
that distill, in the instructions they give, the steps necessary to
think in the rich and complicated ways that make you the kind of
scholar you are. If you want your students to think of the ways
historians, hermeneuticists, biologists, or attorneys do, create
assignments or classroom discussions that make it possible for them
to make those moves, to understand them, and to reflect on their
Secondly, think as a teacher of teachers. Add this "meta" level to your
reflections on teaching: It puts pressure on some confusing moves we
rely on, on blurry assumptions. And it makes visible, sharable, and
teachable what has become invisible to us because it is habitual.
Pat Hutchings [email@example.com], is a senior scholar at the
Foundation. With Lee Shulman, Hutchings directs the Higher Education Program
of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning