Teaching takes center stage in this fall’s issue of Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, and ACUE is honored to share the spotlight. Alongside articles by George Kuh, Ken O’Donnell, and Carol Geary Schneider on high-impact practices, José Antonio Bowen and C. Edward Watson on the learning sciences, and Emily R. Miller and colleagues on the AAU STEM Initiative, ACUE’s work is featured in the cover story: “Teaching and Student Success: ACUE Makes the Link.” This collection of 13 short essays, with an introduction by Elmira Mangum, shares the diverse perspectives of students, faculty, administrators, and other stakeholders with whom we’ve developed a resource truly “of, by, and for” higher education.
In his editorial, Change’s David Paris notes:
“It is a (too) common observation that faculty members’ training and expertise focus on their subject matter and research rather than pedagogy. What training they might receive concerning pedagogy depends on their graduate institution rather than reflecting widely shared professional standards. . . .
“As we reflect on our increased knowledge about teaching and related initiatives supporting faculty development, we might be tempted to think that we can make progress—and that perhaps such progress is already being made. Unfortunately, much of the evidence suggests that what we know is not being put broadly and effectively into practice. Graduation and retention rates are moving up slowly, if at all. . . .
“The gaps are especially troubling as we anticipate underrepresented students becoming a larger proportion of the student population. The data here is also distressing, ‘states with high percentages of underrepresented minorities and large attainment gaps are in a particularly dire situation.’ . . .
“But why is progress so slow? Why are we not doing what common sense and evidence suggest we do to improve professional practice, to get better? There are many factors, and part of the answer is suggested by . . . the need for training that the ACUE initiative seeks to address.”
Among the essays,
- Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón shares how great teaching—a long-sought priority of higher education—is within our grasp;
- Molly Corbett Broad explains how ACE’s quality assurance process helped to ensure that our program is comprehensive, evidence based, and of the highest quality;
- Linda Nilson, author of Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, speaks to the learning design and scalability of our program;
- Catherine Haras, senior director of the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning at California State University, Los Angeles, discusses how evidence-based teaching practices are applicable to any field and how our program is expanding the center’s impact;
- Daniel Julius, senior vice president and provost at New Jersey City University, explores the positive financial implications of quality teaching;
- Vice President of Ewing Marion Kauffman Aaron North explains how quality instruction advances the Foundation’s commitment to college access;
- Kevin P. Reilly, president emeritus of the University of Wisconsin System, argues that trustees have a role to play in promoting instructional excellence;
- Amy Chasteen Miller, professor and vice provost for academic affairs, describes how our program is bridging the gap between faculty and students, connecting faculty across disciplines, and resulting in dramatic payoffs in student success and faculty satisfaction;
- Mary E. Brown, a professor at Southern Connecticut State University, shares how valuable our course has been to refining her practice and recommends that all faculty complete the course;
- Bonita Veysey, vice chancellor for planning and implementation at Rutgers University–Newark, discusses why ACUE is written into the University’s strategic plan and reflects on how the course transformed her sense of her own teaching;
- Deborah Hecht, director and senior research scientist at the Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE) at the CUNY Graduate Center, presents some of the early evidence on ACUE’s impact; and
- José Bowen, president of Goucher College, defines the essential role teaching plays in preparing a student for lifelong success and how a ‘degree’ in pedagogy can help faculty change lives.
These essays, taken together, make a powerful case for putting great teaching at the heart of our national student success agenda.