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The Scholarship Of Teaching: Building A Foundation Before Reaching The Pinnacle

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.647.1 - 5.647.8



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Paper Authors

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Scott Danielson

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Sudhir I. Mehta

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Session 1375

The Scholarship of Teaching: Building a Foundation before Reaching the Pinnacle Sudhir Mehta, Scott Danielson North Dakota State University / Arizona State University East


Teaching and learning have received significant attention and have been the focus of voluminous research in the last few decades. In spite of this research, engineering educators, especially new ones, often wonder what they can do to improve student learning. To help answer this question, over eight hundred people--engineering students, alumni, and engineering faculty--were surveyed and asked to select the three instructor characteristics or pedagogical techniques they viewed as most effective in improving student learning. The results lead to the conclusion that engineering educators should initially focus on basic principles (the "foundation") before attempting to incorporate more advanced pedagogical techniques (the "pinnacle"). This paper describes the current educational climate regarding teaching, the survey and results, important pedagogical methods, and their significance for the scholarship of teaching.

I. Introduction

Ever since Boyer introduced the term "Scholarship of Teaching" in Scholarship Reconsidered (1990), there has been intense debate on what the scholarship of teaching actually is and how it can be achieved. A number of publications have discussed the topic (e.g., Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997; Bass, 1999; Silva, 1999) with over 120 campuses making public commitments to the scholarship of teaching through the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) Campus Program (Hutching & Shulman, 1999). The CASTL Campus Program challenges campuses to undertake a public process of evaluation and planning for ways to support knowledge-building about teaching and learning. These discussions about teaching and learning intend to create support systems, sanctuaries, and learning centers across disciplines for scholars who are interested in the scholarship of teaching. For an activity to be designated as scholarship, argues Lee Shulman, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it should manifest at least three key characteristics. These characteristics are that it should be public, susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and accessible for exchange and use by other members of one’s scholarly community (Shulman, 1998). Hutching and Shulman (1999) have since added a fourth attribute, implied by the other three, of involvement in question-asking, inquiry, and investigation, particularly around issues of student learning.

In the spirit of the scholarship of teaching, we attempt to determine what teaching activities improve student learning. First, we report on a survey of over eight hundred NDSU engineering students, alumni, and faculty. From this survey, we attempt to establish the "foundation" for teaching that encourages student learning. Then, in section three, the literature on pedagogical research acts as the basis for our suggestions for advanced teaching strategies, or reaching the

Danielson, S., & Mehta, S. I. (2000, June), The Scholarship Of Teaching: Building A Foundation Before Reaching The Pinnacle Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8683

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2000 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015