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AAC&U was founded in 1915 and currently counts over 1300 institutions in its membership, including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities. It's mission is to champion "the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career." AACU has 4 main goals:
- LEAP: Liberal Education as a Global Necessity
- Quality: 21st Century Markers for the Value of US Degrees
- Equity: Innovation, Inclusive Excellence, and Student Success
- Social Responsibility: Integrative Liberal Learning for the Global Commons
AACU, together with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), helped develop and launch PFF programs throughout the country between 1993 and 2003.
If you are involved in graduate eduction of any sort, you might be interested in looking at the work done at CGS, the "only national organization in the United States that is dedicated solely to the advancement of graduate education and research." CGS, together with AAC&U, was a pivotal player in the development of PFF programs between 1993 and 2003.
This is the start of an annotated list of great books about teaching and learning. If you know of an inspiring or informative book about teaching that should be on this list, email us at email@example.com with the details and a short paragraph about the book and why it's a "must read."
Svinicki, M. D. & McKeachie, W. J. (2014) McKeachie's teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. (14th edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage.
This book, in its 14th edition, is a classic. It was originally developed by William McKeachie for his teaching assistants in 1950 and has kept up with changes in higher education all these years. McKeachie's career as a teacher-scholar was at the University of Michigan. If you get no other book, this is the one to have as a go to resource for all aspects of teaching.
Brookfield, S. D. (2006). The skillful teacher: On trust, technique, and responsiveness in the classroom (2nd. edition). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
This is an excellent resource and inspiration for developing a strong teacher presence in class that is also nurturing. Brookfield brings together his extensive teaching experience in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK to provide a great range of tips and tricks with insightful discussions of teaching and learning at college level. Read more about Brookfield.
Bain K. (2004). What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
This book is based on a 15-year study of nearly a hundred college-level educators. Ken Bain's experiences with effective teachers in college drew him into a long investigation of what makes them tick and why they are so effective. He shows us that good teaching is not born, but can definitely be learned and honed through one's career. The book presents stories and examples that give us insight into effective teaching. He also shows us that students do indeed for the most part want to learn and want to excel. He argues that despite increasing competition in the classroom, students still thrive in cooperative contexts that are "natural critical learning environments". This is a great book for any teacher; the beginning teacher will find useful and practical strategies and the experienced teacher, inspiration to bring fresh ideas and energy into his or her teaching. Read about Ken Bain.
Cranton, P. (2006). Understanding and promoting transformative learning. A guide for educators of adults. (2nd Edition). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Patricia Cranton provides a succinct and comprehensive explanation of transformative learning theory drawing from Jack Mezirow's work, and then shows its application in practice. Cranton provides an excellent overview and integration of current knowledge about transformative learning. I found it valuable – and real – that Cranton questions the long held idea of adult learning as voluntary; she very correctly notes that many adults are required to attend classes, as is the case with many of our students. She describes the transformative process from the learner's perspective and provides practical strategies we can use to foster transformative learning in our classrooms. Read more about Patricia Cranton.
- Higher Education: Our Mission Into the Future
- Student Engagement and Learning
- Course Design
- Understanding Yourself As A Teacher
These are websites and articles that clarify our role as teacher-scholars today. College teaching can be likened to the last point of contact with education for many young people before they step into the world of work and the rest of their lives. What can we do as educators to help them flourish in their futures? How is the landscape of higher education changing and why? How does this affect how we must approach learning and teaching?
The LEAP Initiative and Essential Outcomes for the Future:
The Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) was launched in 2005. It researches, advocates, and acts to support and promote educational values and outcomes critical for success in the 21st century. The initiative advocates for liberal education as a powerful source of the skills and capacities this nation needs to survive and flourish as a democracy in the creative, knowledge economy.
The Essential Outcomes Chart (PDF) provides a distillation of skills AAC&U have found to be critical for success in the 21st century, both for individuals as well as, by their collective contributions, to maintaining the economic and democratic vitality of the nation. No matter what subject areas we teach, we should help our students to develop these skills and capacities to better prepare them for their futures.
Learning Theories Thumbnail Descriptions (PDF):
This set of notes presents short/thumbnail descriptions of some learning and motivation theories and concepts. The document has live links to useful websites as well as reflection questions to help you connect the theories to your own experiences as learner/teacher.
Learning Theories Images (PDF):
Online visual representations of learning taxonomies and theories:
Learning Theories Index:
An index of learning theories. Each theory is described briefly, with key principles and terms explained. Good references for follow up reading. The site also has quick descriptions of the main paradigms of behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and humanism.
'Learning theory', the encyclopedia of informal education:
Good overview and explanations of different learning theories. Smith keeps this pretty well updated. Part of Infed – the Encyclopedia of Informal Education.
If you want to really get into different learning and motivation theories this website is great. It's got all the main theories and then some – from Algo-Heuristic theory and adult learning theory to Modes of Learning, Multiple Intelligences, and Social Learning Theory and Transformational theory. Each theory is briefly presented, with applications, examples, principles, and further links and readings.
Learning Knowledge Index:
This is a very useful site with good information on learning, learning theories, and links to other learning theories sites. I found this personal motivation for this site intriguing:
"When I was going to school I often asked myself; what is it all for? Now that I am 62 years old I ask myself again; what was it all for? It is not an easy question to answer, for most of what I had so called 'learned', I had no use for in my life, and have forgotten. At school I was one of the students who enjoyed learning school work. So now I can not help but wonder, if I who enjoyed school work, have lost and not retained so much, what of the experience of those who disliked school work? I seem to remember they were the vast majority, and us nerds were the minority. The answers I believe are determined by the answer to a single question. Did they retain it and was it useful and influential in their lives? For most of them, the answer is most assuredly no. So again what was it all for?"
Student Learning Outcomes and Course Design
The SLO Workbook (PDF): This workbook walks you through developing student learning outcomes as part of your course design process. Based on Wiggins and McTighe's (1998) work with backward design, the workbook begins the process of course design by facilitating your thinking about your teaching goals, and especially about the learning outcomes you set for your students.
Syllabus Design (PDF): This handout provides an overview of the functions of a syllabus, and key design and content selection considerations in designing a syllabus.
Grading and Rubrics
AACU Value Rubrics: The AAC&U developed a set of excellent rubrics as part of their LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise) project. The VALUE initiative (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) was a comprehensive and broad-ranging effort to improve learning assessment in higher education. The VALUE initiative, from 2007-2009, engaged faculty and other educational professionals from more than 100 institutions to develop, test, and refine a set of rubrics for capacities that all educators should strive to help their students develop.
The rubrics include: Inquiry and analysis, Critical thinking. Creative thinking. Written communication, Oral communication, Reading, Quantitative literacy. Information literacy, Teamwork, Problem solving, Personal and social responsibility. Civic engagement – local and global, Intercultural knowledge and competence, Ethical reasoning, Lifelong learning, Global learning, and Integrative learning. Read more and to download the rubrics.
iRubric: iRubric is a free online tool that offers a database of rubrics that you can download for your own use. With a free account, you can search the extensive database for a rubric for your course, then duplicate it to edit the criteria to suit your course and level of teaching.
Explore your own perspectives as a teacher. Take the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). If you have not done any teaching, respond to this inventory by keeping in mind the subject matter and level of students you hope to teach. There is an excellent guide to interpreting the results on the website.
What is the TPI?
The Teaching Perspectives Inventory was developed by Daniel Pratt. The inventory builds a teaching profile based on 5 different perspectives on what teaching means. The 5 perspectives are Transmission, Apprenticeship, Developmental, Nurturing, and Social Reform. The inventory gives us an understanding of teaching as a pluralistic process – your profile ranges across these 5 perspectives – so that we see teaching as multi-faceted and dynamic rather than as one-dimensional. The instrument's validity and reliability is based on 10 years of research with over 100,000 respondents spanning over 100 countries. The instrument, therefore, also takes into account cultural and social variations in perspectives on teaching. The TPI has undergone psychometric testing that was reported by Collins and Pratt (2011).
More webinars can be found on CGU's Vimeo.
Shamini Dias and Emily Warren from CGU's Preparing Future Faculty Office lead a workshop introducing the Community of Alumni Teachers, CGU's newest official alumni community.
Christine Kelly, Claremont Graduate University's director of career development, and Jason Barquero, CGU's director of alumni engagement, discuss how to effectively manage a career change.