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Faculty Development: Getting The Sermon Beyond The Choir

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.284.1 - 3.284.7



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Richard M. Felder

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1213


Richard M. Felder Rebecca Brent North Carolina State University

A reform movement has been active in higher education for several decades. The proponents of change argue that the traditional teacher-centered approach to classroom instruction, which emphasizes lecturing, individual effort, and competition for grades, is not particularly effective for promoting learning and skill development. They claim that a more balanced approach incorporating active, inductive (discovery), and cooperative learning improves the chances of achieving almost every conceivable educational objective, including depth of learning, length of information retention, development of problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills, attitudes toward subjects and increased motivation to learn them, and self-confidence. They offer an impressive array of learning theory-based and classroom research results to support these claims. These efforts notwithstanding, if you walk down the corridor of all but a handful of engineering schools and look into classrooms, you would see little different than you would have seen forty years ago. Most engineering professors are still exclusively lecturing in all their classes and assigning exclusively individual homework. They may have heard about some of the alternative instructional approaches that a few of their colleagues have been carrying on about, but they dismiss these approaches as impractical, excessively time-consuming to implement, or “spoon-feeding.” There are a number of reasons for this faculty resistance, most of which have at their base the inescapable fact that time is generally faculty members’ scarcest and most precious resource: there is never enough of it to do the things we have to do and want to do. First-class research— writing proposals and doing the things necessary to get them funded, supervising graduate students, attending and presenting at conferences, writing papers, and actually planning and carrying out the research—is a full-time job. First-class teaching—planning and updating lessons, creating appropriately challenging but fair homework assignments and examinations, learning about, importing, and implementing new instructional methods and materials, doing classroom research and curriculum development and presenting and publishing the results, and dealing with the myriad of problems that students routinely present (classroom management, cheating, emotional problems, etc.)—is also a full-time job. There is a limit to how many full- time jobs one individual can hold down. Faculty members find different ways of dealing with this dilemma. 1. The superhuman professors. Some faculty members manage to put in the time needed to do excellent jobs of both research and teaching, but there are not nearly enough of them to populate our faculties.

Felder, R. M. (1998, June), Faculty Development: Getting The Sermon Beyond The Choir Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7126

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