Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) has just published a new book, Campus Progress: Supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, that reports from 40 campuses on ways that the institutions are supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning. The posting below is an excerpt from the introduction by Barbara Cambridge, (firstname.lastname@example.org), vice president of AAHE to the book which summarizes the areas of support in the framework of how communities of practice are formed. Copyright ?2004, AAHE. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
To order Campus Progress: Supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, go to AAHE's website at http://www.aahe.org and click on Publications.
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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
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CAMPUS PROGRESS: SUPPORTING THE SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING AND LEARNING
From the Introduction by Barbara Cambridge
Communities of practice are formed when people feel strongly about something, investigate and develop it, and share results of their inquiries and actions. The scholarship of teaching and learning constitutes multiple communities of practice that are generating energy, increasing knowledge, influencing teaching and learning locally and nationally, and changing the culture of institutions of higher education.
Campus Progress: Supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, edited by Barbara Cambridge, vice president at the American Association for Higher Education, examines features of communities of practice focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning, developed within and across disciplines, and situated at both national and local levels. What emerges is a picture of significant, increasingly transformational change.
Communities of practice typically move through five stages: potential, coalescing, maturing, stewardship, and transformation (Wenger, McDermott, Snyder (2002) Cultivating communities of practice, Boston: Harvard University Press). This book traces the movement through these stages of campuses that were part of a national AAHE/Carnegie project called the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Examples from forty campuses illustrate the way in which the scholarship of teaching and learning is becoming embedded in campus cultures.
The potential for development of a community rests on collectively defining issues and learning how to talk about them. Using CASTL's draft definition, i.e. "The scholarship of teaching is problem posing about an issue of teaching or learning, study of the problem through methods appropriate to disciplinary epistemologies, application of results to practice, communication of results, self-reflection, and peer review," each Campus Program campus revised the definition to suit its own history, culture, and goals. For example, Abilene Christian University's definition is "The scholarship of teaching is public discourse conceptualizing teaching," whereas Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis adopted the statement that "The scholarship of teaching and learning addresses the intellectual work of the classroom, especially teaching and learning, as the focus of disciplinary-based inquiry, captures that work in appropriate formats for self-reflection or presentation to pe!
ers, and applies the results to practice. The scholarship of teaching and learning regards teaching as part of the collaborative inquiry undertaken by faculty and students that drives the intellectual work of an academic community." Many other campuses rewrote the draft definition based on their own understanding and beliefs about scholarship, teaching, and learning.
Language regarding the scholarship of teaching and learning continues to be refined. For example, in a 1999 article in Change magazine, Pat Hutchings and Lee Shulman make important distinctions between scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Scholarly teachers employ classroom assessment, the latest ideas about teaching within a field, and peer collaboration and review in order to improve their own teaching. In the scholarship of teaching and learning faculty members design and carry out inquiry into issues of student learning that is distinguished by "being public, open to critique and evaluation, and in a form that others can build on. Faculty "do so with an eye not only to improving their own classroom but to advancing practice beyond it" (p. 13).
Maturing and Stewardship
In addition to shared language, a community of practice matures through shared learning. The maturation of campus communities became apparent as campuses reported how they were building infrastructure, expanding collaboration, instituting policies, and assessing impact.
Nine varieties of infrastructures in place to support the scholarship of teaching and learning are described in the first section of this book. Configurations described include a system-wide teaching-learning center partnering with campus teaching-learning centers; a teaching-learning center partnering with a teaching academy; a teaching academy; a system-wide teaching-learning center; a teaching-learning center serving faculty, staff, and students; a teaching-learning center that includes the scholarship of teaching and learning; a teaching-learning center devoted specifically to the scholarship of teaching and learning; and a freestanding scholarship of teaching and learning initiative.
Individual institutions advocate for different strategies. Berea College, for example, makes use of existing infrastructure by working with extant programs, creating infrastructure that coordinates rather than competes with other campus initiatives and programs. The University of Georgia contends that its freestanding teaching academy, which exists outside the governing structure of the university, offers forums for deliberation rather than for advancing certain positions. The Maricopa Community Colleges Institute for Learning enables the building of what the author calls "a community of scholars that will engage in classroom-based inquiry, reflective practice, and conversations about the scholarship of teaching and learning." Just as definitions need to emerge from the discourse community that uses them, structures are built to serve the needs of individual campuses or systems.
The newest national infrastructure to support the scholarship of teaching and learning is the AAHE/Carnegie clusters. Fourteen campuses that are mature in various aspects of the scholarship of teaching and learning have moved into the stewardship phase of this community of practice work. Over 95 core member campuses are part of these clusters.
The cluster campuses have selected topics that fit their current interests and needs. Examples of these topics are building networked community practice, examining achievement and success in the first year, creating a multicultural framework, developing consortial work in several kinds of institutions, exploring the cognitive-affective relationship in teaching and learning, identifying and assessing active pedagogies.
Mature communities are characterized by strong collaborations. Because changing a campus culture is so complex, multiple constituents must be part of the equation. Section Two of this book establishes the relationship between collaboration and sustainability of a campus change agenda.
Institutions describe and advocate different configurations of participants. At Buffalo State College, early administrator-faculty collaboration was "pivotal" - changes viewed as the initiative of any one campus group would have been stonewalled. At Middlesex Community College, participation by all academic divisions serves as an "antidote to the isolation of our professions and the lack of time for pedagogical discussions within departments and divisions." At The Citadel, collaboration has helped faculty members to integrate perspectives, pool resources, enhance visibility, and provide mutual support. At the University of Maryland, an interdisciplinary team oversees the funding of local initiatives, which contributes multiple perspectives on what is most valuable to support. Campuses have developed appropriate collaborations for their contexts and needs - collaborations that persist or evolve as circumstances warrant.
Good practice can lead to sound policy decisions, and sound policy decisions can lead to good practice. Fortunately, some institutions have pioneered shifts in policy that make possible the use of effective practices discovered through scholarly work on teaching and learning. Section Three's introduction points out four particularly significant elements that lead to policy change: use of prolonged, wide-ranging conversations; committed leaders; external support; and changes in promotion and tenure.
The final point about faculty roles and rewards is common across institutional types. North Carolina State University decided that informed peer review would influence the reward system so it worked on administrative and faculty buy in; reviewer and department head training; recognition for reviewing, including modified faculty activity reports; and periodic college review of departmental peer review progress. Rockhurst University and Keystone College developed other strategies for influencing promotion and tenure policies. Iowa State University reports important data to show the effects of changing reward criteria on who attains promotion and tenure.
Yet, those policies are part of a larger set. In the University of Georgia System each college and university must support the scholarship of teaching and learning through written institutional policies, criteria, and procedures regarding recruitment and hiring; annual evaluation of faculty; pre-tenure, promotion and tenure, and post-tenure review; rewards and recognition of outstanding performance; and opportunities for continuing development.
To influence policies and encourage continued scholarship and application of scholarly knowledge, campuses need evidence of change. This evidence includes explicit indicators--changes in curriculum, pedagogy, student learning outcomes, policies, budget priorities, organizational structures, and decision-making structures-- and implicit indicators--interactions, self-image, rationales, and relationships between institutions and stakeholders.
Institutions in Section Four discovered much about themselves through short-term and long-term study of impacts of the scholarly approach to teaching and learning. For example, Oxford College of Emory University uncovered positive and negative campus constituent attitudes toward the scholarship of teaching and learning, while Western Washington University identified learning that emerges from undertaking and studying this scholarship. Oxford College of Emory University found that documenting progress provided an incentive to maintain enthusiasm, leverage for additional funding, a baseline for measuring future impact, and a basis for sharing best practices with other institutions. Illinois State University developed a baseline for longitudinal study of impact by examining thesis and dissertation titles, annual reports from their Research and Sponsored Programs office, grant reports from the Center for Advancement of Teaching, faculty productivity reports, promotion and tenure!
guidelines, and information on formal scholarship of teaching and learning positions.
Nationally, CASTL did an analysis of 58 extensive self-studies by Campus Program institutions. Ninety-five percent reported regular increases in the percentage of faculty attending campus-wide and departmental events, conferences, workshops, and retreats for faculty interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Seventy-two percent reported grants, stipends, or release time for faculty or departments for the scholarship of teaching and learning. Seventy-one percent reported new infrastructures, such as a teaching and learning center, office, committee, or positions. Although many policies were newly written or adopted, 60 percent of campuses had included the scholarship of teaching and learning in promotion and tenure systems. Other statistics indicate additional impact of systematic attention to the scholarship of teaching and learning.
This book reports progress, but change is incremental. In fact, change can look "like a failure from the middle. The work not yet accomplished often is more visible than the changes made. Taking stock is helpful not only because it provides useful feedback for mid-course corrections, but because it also affirms accomplishment and nourishes future work" (Eckel, Green, and Hill, On Change V, Washington, DC, ACE, 27). Section Five verifies that examining progress can yield affirmations, places for new strategies, and hopes for future steps. Campus Progress as a whole offers specific examples and significant hope for campuses engaged in creating communities of practice around the scholarship of teaching and learning.