by Charles Blaich and Kathleen Wise
In January 2015, we published a short essay on the Practitioners’ Corner about why it is so difficult to take what we read about good teaching practices in journals or on the web, or hear about at conferences, and make those practices work for us and our students.
That same month, we had a conversation with Teagle Scholars Ty Buckman (Wittenberg University), Cindy Crimmins (York College of Pennsylvania), and Paul Sotherland (Kalamazoo College) about some of the points we raised in this essay and about their experiences creating effective faculty development programs to improve teaching and learning.
Ty, Cindy, and Paul all have years of experience creating and running successful faculty development programs. In their conversation, they highlighted a number of points including the importance of the following:
The conversation has lots of practical advice from three experienced campus leaders. You can listen to the 35-minute conversation here.
Please don’t hesitate to contact or if you have questions or comments.
1. Paul Sotherland mentions “Teagle-funded projects” early in the conversation. He is referring to a $150,000 grant that Kalamazoo College received from the Teagle Foundation “to transform the college into a more vibrant teaching and learning environment by fostering a campus-wide and sustainable presence of the scholarship of teaching and learning.”
2. Part of the conversation concerns whether it is better to ask faculty to think about inquiry on the impact of student learning informally or more formally as the scholarship of teaching and learning. Rachel Schwartz (Georgia Southern University) made some interesting comments and observations on this point in her March 31, 2015 post to the Professional Organizational Development (POD) Network listserv on James Rhem’s work at her institution:
As noted by attendees:
"Over time a very narrow definition of SoTL has evolved. SoTL has become equated with publication in a national peer-reviewed journal and/or conference proceedings. James cautions against SoTL practitioners treating all SoTL as discovery and worthy of publishing. Instead, he argues that most SoTL is a matter of integration, in taking what has already been learned and applying it in one's own context. He urges faculty to focus more on making local improvements; in one's own thinking, in one's own classroom, in one's own program or institution (through individual reflection and reflection with other colleagues). He urges a return to the broader definition of SoTL."
"I saw two very strong connections in his work:
James is not the only voice issuing what I would consider to be a clarion call on this issue, but he is perhaps the most direct, concise, and articulate about it."
May 22, 2015