Effective Practices for Academic Leaders: Promoting a Climate for Teaching and Learning

Overview

Executive Summary
Although this briefing is written primarily for department chairs, its topic, creating a climate for teaching and learning, is an institutional affair and cannot be fully realized without broader support from academic leaders. I take as a conceptual starting point Boyer’s (1990b) influential text Scholarship Reconsidered and thus begin with the premise that improving teaching and learning requires that we think about teaching as an activity not wholly ...

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Overview

Executive Summary
Although this briefing is written primarily for department chairs, its topic, creating a climate for teaching and learning, is an institutional affair and cannot be fully realized without broader support from academic leaders. I take as a conceptual starting point Boyer’s (1990b) influential text Scholarship Reconsidered and thus begin with the premise that improving teaching and learning requires that we think about teaching as an activity not wholly segregated from other scholarly activity—thereby requiring entirely different kinds of support—but as an activity that can benefit from the same kinds of encouragement and support that foster research and scholarship.

There are, in fact, many parallels between the suggestions and practical advice that support good teaching and those that support research and scholarship. I have drawn the suggestions in this briefing from a variety of sources, including personal experience. To help department chairs make wise choices in implementing these ideas, I have organized the practical suggestions within a framework for transformative change. The assumption in doing so is that department chairs want to make lasting changes and that seeing each suggestion as part of a larger process will make it easier for them to do so. Finally, because one of the most significant and important steps that departments need to take to instill a climate for teaching and learning is to create contexts for conversations, I have provided in the annotated bibliography articles and books that could be used to encourage departmental discussion and dialogue.

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