July 25, 2008

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July 19, 2008

Creating Successful Interdisciplinary Programs


The University of Oklahoma’s (OU) College of Arts and Sciences has a long history of successful interdisciplinary programs. Each was created under different circumstances without a standard process, but they all share several characteristics that have helped them thrive. Academic Leader recently spoke with Paul B. Bell, Jr., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and vice provost for instruction, about what makes these interdisciplinary programs successful…

July 18, 2008

10 Tips From a Distance Learning Trainer


As a distance learning trainer at the University of West Georgia, Christy Talley helps develop online courses, trains faculty in online instruction, provides student support, conducts student surveys and evaluations, and delivers online professional development. Part of her role is to give advice to online instructors. The following are her top 10 tips for online instructors:…

July 17, 2008

Curriculum Development: Department-less Interdisciplinary Program Provides Flexibility for Returning Adult Students


The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (BAiLS) program, an interdisciplinary program at Northern Arizona University designed to meet the needs of returning adult students, is less structured than programs with similar goals at other institutions. This looser structure encourages collaboration among disciplines and provides for greater flexibility, says Larry Gould, associate dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences…

July 16, 2008

Student Learning Outcomes Initiative


In 1989 the administration at Central Arizona College made a decision to move toward a competency-based curriculum for all of its courses and certificate and degree programs—a wise decision given all the changes taking place within the community college’s district and within higher education in general, says Linda Heiland, CAC’s associate vice president for institutional effectiveness and chief academic officer…

July 15, 2008

Two Universities’ Global Learning Initiatives


Despite Marquette University’s emphasis on global learning, including study abroad and international service learning programs, students ranked global issues as very low in importance when they participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement. “When we got the NSSE results, we were mystified. We have lots of co-curricular [activities] and core course that address global issues. Why aren’t students identifying global issues as important to their education?” says Christine Krueger, Marquette’s director of core of common studies…

July 14, 2008

Effective Classroom Management: A Helpful Handout for Students


Sometimes we (or our colleagues) don’t always deliver material in ways that expedite note-taking. We may not be able to take class time for a session on note-taking but all of us can probably find time to distribute a handout that students might find helpful. Consider this one, a slightly condensed and modified version of material that appears in the reference below. These are research-based recommendations…

July 13, 2008

Electronic Portfolios for Faculty Evaluation


Tina Ashford, assistant professor of information technology, was among the first faculty members at Macon State College to use an electronic portfolio to support her bid for tenure. Although the portfolio’s format wasn’t a factor in her tenure bid, she found that it offered several advantages over the traditional paper-based format that might make it attractive both to individual faculty members and tenure and promotion committees.

July 12, 2008

Performance Appraisal Interviews as a Tool to Improve Faculty Work


The primary cost associated with an academic department is personnel. Personnel can include secretarial and support staff, but is typically dominated by faculty. In fact, as much as 95 percent of a department’s budget can be tied directly to faculty costs. This means that department heads and chairs have little room to negotiate around faculty and must instead face challenges directly. Compounding the chair’s ability to create change is the reality of academic freedom and tenure, both of which can immobilize progress and growth.

July 11, 2008

Instructional Design: Moving Toward a Less Structure, More Learning-Centered Environment


“Being classes,” as the authors refer to them, rest on the belief that students themselves control what they are learning. Teachers cannot learn content for students — that one’s easy. But neither can teachers force students to learn what they are teaching. From any given learning experience, students will take vastly different things. They learn in different ways and filter all learning experiences through the unique set of past experiences. If you doubt these premises, the authors challenge you to take a learning experience that has occurred in your class, maybe a good student presentation, an exercise or an especially animated discussion, and immediately after its conclusion, ask students to write a paragraph about what they learned.