who wish to explore the scholarship of teaching and learning; and (3) applying such formative evaluation techniques to departmental programs, not only to individual faculty.2

Four fundamental premises guided the committee’s deliberations:

  1. Effective postsecondary teaching in science, mathematics, and technology should be available to all students, regardless of their major.

  2. The design of curricula and the evaluation of teaching and learning should be collective responsibilities of faculty in individual departments or, where appropriate, through interdepartmental arrangements.

  3. Scholarly activities that focus on improving teaching and learning should be recognized as bona fide endeavors that are equivalent to other scholarly pursuits. Scholarship devoted to improving teaching effectiveness and learning should be accorded the same administrative and collegial support that is available for efforts to improve other research and service endeavors.

  4. Faculty who are expected to work with undergraduates should be given support and mentoring in teaching

  1. throughout their careers; hiring practices should provide a first opportunity to signal institutions’ teaching values and expectations of faculty.

Underlying these premises is the committee’s recognition that science, mathematics, and engineering instructors face a number of daunting challenges: the need to apply principles of human learning from research in cognitive science to the assessment of learning outcomes, to teach and advise large numbers of students with diverse interests and varying reasons for enrolling, to prepare future teachers, to provide faculty and students with engaging laboratory and field experiences, and to supervise students who undertake original research. Simultaneously addressing these challenges requires knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject matter, familiarity with a range of appropriate pedagogies, skill in using appropriate tests, ease in professional interactions with students within and beyond the classroom; and active scholarly assessment to enhance teaching and learning.

Yet the committee found that most faculty who teach undergraduates in the STEM disciplines have received little formal training in teaching techniques, in assessing student learning, or in evaluating teaching effectiveness. Formal programs aimed at improving

2  

Detailed definitions of formative and summative evaluation can be found in Chapter 5.



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