Are our students learning? Are they developing? Are we having an impact? These questions are only a small sample of those that faculty ask before, during, and after each course that they teach. Faculty often attempt to answer such questions using the evidence they have—student remarks during class and office hours, student performance on examinations or homework assignments, student comments solicited via teaching evaluations, and their own classroom observations. While these forms of evidence can be useful, such informal assessments also can be misleading, particularly because they are generally not systematic or fully representative.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
scholarship of teaching and learning
The argument persists: teaching and research are complementary—each in some synergistic way builds on and supports the other. Standing against the argument is an impressive, ever-growing array of studies that consistently fail to show any linkage between teaching effectiveness and research productivity. Because administrators have a vested interest in faculty being able to do both well, the two sides continue to exchange arguments and accusations in a debate that has grown old, tired, and terribly nonproductive.
Discussion of teaching and learning as an academic, scholarly endeavor has become an acceptable conversation on college campuses. A shift is beginning to take place whereby the scholarship of teaching and learning is now being taken seriously. We are making progress in higher education by making undergraduate education intentional, thus moving toward a learner-centered paradigm.
Despite the admirable goal of improving student learning by assessment, many faculty members are uneasy about participating in assessment-related activities. One way to overcome negative feelings about assessment while promoting improved student learning is to encourage faculty to engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).