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May/June 2012

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Faculty Professional Development and Student Learning: What is the Relationship?

Our study takes a step back from the undergraduate classroom to address faculty development, a phenomenon that ranges from general orientation sessions for new teachers to occasional brown bag lunches; reading groups; informal and program-based workshops; and more formal ones on pedagogy, assessment, and more. The tacit assumption underlying them is that when faculty learn more about teaching, they teach better, which in turn improves student learning—a plus for everyone.

Carol Rutz (crutz@carleton.edu) teaches writing at Carleton College and directs its writing program, which focuses on faculty development and assessment. With William Condon, Cathryn A. Manduca, and Beverly Nagel, she is a co-principal investigator for the Tracer Project.

William Condon (bcondon@wsu.edu) is a professor of English at Washington State University. He was principal investigator of a three-year FIPSE grant devoted to faculty development and statewide accountability for teaching critical thinking.

Ellen R. Iverson (eiverson@carleton.edu) is director of evaluation for the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College.

Cathryn A. Manduca (cmanduca@carleton.edu), executive director of the National Association of Geoscience, directs the Science Education Resource Center in its work on faculty development, support for geoscience departments, and online sharing of teaching resources.

Gudrun Willett (gwillett@carleton.edu) is a cultural anthropologist at Carleton.

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