Kennesaw State University

Engaging in Reflective and Scholarly Teaching

By Tom Pusateri

The articles in this section discuss the value of taking a reflective, scholarly approach to our teaching, which may increase our professional satisfaction, improve student learning in our courses, and assist us in documenting our teaching effectiveness for annual review and for promotion and tenure applications.  Some scholarly teachers may also develop presentations or publications that contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

(Note:  Several links below are to permalinks available via KSU's library and are only available to individuals who are on KSU's network.)

New faculty members are often hired for their scholarly expertise in their disciplines with the expectation that they will share their expertise in the classroom, thereby engaging students to learn.  Some faculty members may practice good teaching based solely on their disciplinary expertise.  However, Hutchings and Shulman (1999) argue that good teaching becomes “scholarly, or reflective, or informed” teaching “[w]hen it entails, as well, certain practices of classroom assessment and evidence gathering, when it is informed not only by the latest ideas in the field but by current ideas about teaching the field, [and] when it invites peer collaboration and review.”  Potter and Kustra (2011) provide a similar definition of scholarly teaching as “teaching grounded in critical reflection using systematically and strategically gathered evidence, related and explained by well-reasoned theory and philosophical understanding, with the goal of maximizing learning through effective teaching.”  These definitions share in common the requirements for scholarly teachers to (a) be reflective about their teaching practices, (b) collect evidence of their teaching effectiveness, and (c) be familiar with theoretical perspectives about teaching practice.  Hutchings and Shulman add the requirement that scholarly teachers also be open to peer collaboration and peer review of their teaching.

Faculty members at Kennesaw State University are expected to take a scholarly approach in all of their work, including their teaching.  The current KSU Faculty Handbook provides the following examples of scholarly accomplishments in teaching, which are consistent with the definitions provided above:

 Scholarly teachers plan their class activities in order to ascertain outcome data regarding student learning. Faculty members typically revise their courses from semester to semester; the scholarly faculty member makes these revisions deliberately and systematically assesses the effect of the revisions on students’ learning. The following semester, the scholarly faculty member makes more revisions based on the previous semester’s outcomes if such revisions are warranted. Professional development activities such as attending workshops and conferences related to teaching are examples of scholarly accomplishments in teaching. This process can result in scholarship when the faculty member makes these processes and outcomes public and subject to appropriate review (Kennesaw State University Faculty Handbook, 2017-2018, pp. 71-72).

The articles in this section discuss the value of taking a reflective, scholarly approach to our teaching, which may increase our professional satisfaction, improve student learning in our courses, and assist us in documenting our teaching effectiveness for annual review and for promotion and tenure applications.  Some scholarly teachers may also develop presentations or publications that contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

In Reflecting on Teaching, Esther Jordan advocates for a purpose-driven reflective approach to our teaching that may take four lenses: personal and professional satisfaction, improvement of student learning, preparing a case for promotion and tenure, and sharing effective practices with colleagues.  Esther’s article focuses on the first two lenses and provides theory-based strategies for reflective teaching that can contribute to professional satisfaction and to student learning. 

Tom Pusateri discusses the third and fourth lenses in the other articles in this section.  In How Can I Demonstrate that I’m an Effective Teacher?, Tom provides examples of evidence that faculty might collect from students, peers, and self-assessments that they can discuss in their narratives for annual review documents and for applications for promotion and tenure.  In addition, Tom suggests disciplinary approaches that faculty might consider to organize their narratives for a more effective presentation.  In Designing, Conducting, and Disseminating the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Tom articulates the stages of conducting SoTL research and provides links to resources for faculty interested in pursuing SoTL may consult.

 In addition to these articles, CETL provides several Teaching Enhancement Services for faculty interested in exploring how to improve further their teaching effectiveness, which include individualized consultations, classroom observations, syllabus review, focus groups with students, and consultations on results from student feedback on teaching.  For more information, visit https://cetl.kennesaw.edu/teaching-enhancement-services.  Faculty members who are pursing the scholarship of teaching and learning might also benefit from the resources available at https://cetl.kennesaw.edu/scholarship-teaching-and-learning, such as links to directories of SoTL conferences and journals, opportunities to receive travel funding to attend SoTL conferences, and CETL’s annual SoTL Writing Retreat.

 

References

Hutchings, P. & Shulman, L. S. (1999, September/October). The scholarship of teaching: New elaborations, new developments. Change, 31(5), 10-15. (Available from KSU’s Library)

Potter, M. K., & Kustra, E. D. H. (2011). The relationship between scholarly teaching and SoTL: Models, distinctions, and clarifications.  International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 5(1), Article 23.  Available at: https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2011.050123