Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

Five Tips for Surviving Accreditation: A Tongue-in-Cheek Reflection

Many academic leaders are involved in regional accreditations, and I am no exception. The six regional accrediting agencies are becoming increasingly stringent in the application and interpretation of their standards, and this can make the accrediting process a difficult one to survive. Our institution was a founding member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and has been accredited continuously from the beginning. I have been involved in four of the 10-year “reaffirmation” activities, serving as chair of the college steering committee twice and serving as our institutional liaison with SACS for many years.

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A Productive Way to Harness Parental Involvement

As every academic leader can attest, the current generation of college students has been blessed with parents who remain highly invested in every aspect of their children’s education. It is not uncommon for parents of students to call the dean, provost, or even president to discuss a problem with a course. Occasionally even the parent of a graduate student will attempt to intervene in an academic issue affecting his or her child.

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Online Grade Books Provide Transparency, Accountability

I started using an online grade book as a convenience for myself. Here, finally, was a grade book that couldn’t get lost or stolen, and it would be automatically backed up by the IT department every night. The accumulated scores could also be downloaded directly into a spreadsheet for calculation of grades, a shortcut that reduced the possibility of errors.

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Ethical Frameworks for Academic Decision-Making

Ethical action and decision-making has always undergirded higher education practice. For example, issues such as academic freedom and how to balance financial realities with the need for quality both have an ethical dimension.

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Do Faculty Give up on Students?

Most faculty (especially those reading a publication like this) do care about students. We wouldn’t be doing all that we do if we didn’t. However, some semesters are long, some students are difficult, we get behind, we have too much on our plates, and we get stressed and tired. When that’s how we’re feeling we don’t always show that concern in tangible ways.

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Going Beyond Office Hours to Improve Student Learning

Two of the big buzzwords in higher education are “student engagement” and “teacher effectiveness.” One way to address these intertwined issues is to improve the quality of student-teacher interactions both inside and outside the classroom.

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The Teacher as General Practitioner

I recently read two wonderful books on the medical profession, one by Jerome Groopman (How Doctors Think) and the other by Atul Gawande (Better). I’ve been thinking about how closely the tasks of teachers and doctors are aligned.

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