stock of knowledge” (p. 642). As documented in a recent NRC report, the culture that rewards research productivity more than teaching effectiveness has changed little on many campuses in the past half century (2003).

Little wonder then that those educational reformers who advocate that faculty enlarge their priorities to include major improvements in undergraduate teaching have met resistance. At present, faculty members are likely to face significant disincentives to learn new teaching approaches and reformulate an introductory course: it requires a large investment of time, it is a distraction from the focus on research, and their investment may not be rewarded. In the NRC report Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (1999), the Committee on Undergraduate Science Education suggests a four-point effort to reformulate faculty incentives. The recommended reformulation would encourage faculty to learn new effective approaches to teaching such as those outlined in Chapter 3 of the present volume and to develop new courses based on such knowledge. That report includes the following recommendations: (1) Administrators should provide faculty with the resources required for consultation with colleagues and education experts; (2) Funds must be made available to faculty for such efforts—a centralized fund for educational improvement in the dean’s office can send a powerful message regarding a change in departmental values; (3) Departmental committees, deans, and provosts should consider efforts by faculty who engage students in learning-centered courses as important activities in matters of tenure, promotion, and salary decisions; and (4) Time spent in redesign of introductory courses or in research focused on teaching and learning a discipline should be considered as evidence of a faculty member’s productivity as a teacher-scholar.

ACHIEVING INSTITUTIONAL REFORM

To accomplish such recommendations as listed above, participants explored what individual faculty members could do to advance effective science instruction within the culture of their departments and institutions. They also examined what efforts would be needed by administrators and national organizations to promote effective STEM instruction.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement