Category Archives: Cultures of Teaching

New Teaching Positions Up the Ante on Pedagogical Knowledge and Skill

New Teaching Positions Up the Ante on Pedagogical Knowledge and Skill

Mary Taylor Huber and Pat Hutchings

February 26, 2018

As higher education has grown and diversified over the past thirty to forty years, the professoriate has grown and diversified as well. One well known, and to many disturbing, aspect of this trend is the growing proportion of faculty in “non-career ladder positions, both full-and part-time,” hired specifically to do “instructional ‘heavy lifting,” (Finkelstein, Conley, & Schuster, 2016, p. 94). They are there to teach classes, not to contribute to knowledge about teaching or to the general improvement of teaching practice.

But we have been struck by an interesting countertrend—not yet visible in the statistics–that seems to have taken hold: the proliferation of different kinds of appointments that up the ante on–and value of–pedagogical knowledge and skill.  Continue reading

Leadership: It Takes a Village and Time

Leadership:  It Takes a Village (and Time)

Pat Hutchings and Mary Huber

August 31, 2017

Why does it take so long for teaching practices to change in college and university classrooms?

Many faculty today are intrigued by new teaching approaches that have been shown to improve the quality and quantity of student learning.  And many are experimenting with these approaches, finding ways to engage students more actively--for instance by organizing them to work in groups to solve complex problems, or asking them to apply and demonstrate their learning in community settings. Continue reading

Talking about Teaching: Innovation and Collaboration

Talking about Teaching: Innovation and Collaboration

Mary Huber and Pat Hutchings

May 29, 2017

Changing teaching practices in a department takes time.

We often think of that challenge as allowing time for changes in teaching practice to take root and spread, but it also means finding time for constructive conversations about teaching and learning. Most departmental committees that oversee undergraduate programs involve only a small fraction of the faculty and deal with bureaucratic necessities like prerequisites and classroom space. Busy faculty–even those teaching sections of the same course, or successive courses in a sequence—don’t always coordinate. As a result, pedagogical innovation and collaboration lack the attention they deserve. Continue reading