Resources we recommend…

Oct 23, 2015

As a new faculty member, it’s sometimes hard to know where to look for basic information about teaching, so we asked some of the CTL staff what books or other resources they believe are most useful for new faculty who may not have taught before.


Dr. Linda Morse, CTL Director:

“I found How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010) to be a great review that explains in plain language key research in applied cognition.  These authors synthesize numerous studies that address what we can do as college instructors to leverage this research to make us better teachers. What makes this book especially helpful is its practical applications for higher education.”


Kris King, CTL Instructional Designer:

“I do not have one particular book that stands out to me but rather a resource or tool.  I would recommend new faculty use Twitter and develop a digital Personal Learning Network. Faculty can follow leaders in their respective fields and outstanding faculty in higher education. Great teachers often share their ideas, strategies, and sometimes failures over social media. Building lists that follow hashtags related to your area of interest is a very productive use of this social media platform.  There will be the occasional personal posts that come across some of these social media streams, but in general, most of the professionals we want to follow keep their posts on topic and really share resources that will benefit us as teachers. We can say a lot of negative things about social media, but if you learn to use hashtags and choose the right people to follow, you can really stay on top of the education trends by using Twitter as a live streaming resource.”


Amy Barefield, CTL Instructional Resource Consultant:

“Today, classrooms are made up of students of multiple generations, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. In Teaching Today’s College Students: Widening the Circle of Success (2007), Professor Angela Provitera McGlynn offers real strategies for successfully navigating the diversity of the college classroom. She tackles topics central to the effectiveness of teaching such as student motivation, involvement, and behavior and provides solutions to these challenges. The book also addresses how to teach a more technologically savvy student population than ever before and is still relevant and useful in today’s classroom.”


Dr. Tom Carskadon, CTL

“I have found that the best resource for information and ideas about teaching is fellow faculty! For logistical matters, they know the ropes, and for ideas, all you have to do is ask—just about every faculty member here is happy to share whatever special methods have worked for them. A national conference that is always full of enthusiasm and great ideas for teaching is the Annual Conference on First-Year Students and Students in Transition, put on every February by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, which is a unit of the University of South Carolina. You can expect a mix of about 1,500 faculty, academic administrators, and student affairs administrators from all over the country, as well as enough students to keep us all focused. Typically there are over 150 sessions to choose from, including plenaries with some of the biggest names in higher education. The exhibition area is exceptionally rich in books from all the major publishers, most of them free for the asking—it is no trick at all to come home with two or three dozen interesting books to read and consider using in some way. While the primary focus of the conference is on first-year students, what's good for freshmen is usually good for all, even graduated students. I have gone to this conference every year for 27 years, and it has always been a highly enjoyable and informative experience.”


Michael Seymour, CTL Faculty Associate:

“I really learned a lot from Daniel T. Willingham’s Why Don’t Students Like School.  Although it’s not written specifically for higher education, there’s really a lot of useful, basic information about how learning works.  Willingham is a cognitive scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and he explains learning in a very simple, straightforward manner.  He also does a good job of debunking a lot of commonly held misconceptions about teaching and learning. I found it fascinating and still use it as a resource.”


Dr. Kelly Marsh, CTL Faculty Associate:

“I found William Buskist’s recent lecture on campus about what constitutes excellent university teaching to be really useful for self-evaluation and for thinking about ways to challenge myself in my teaching.  The findings he presented are laid out clearly in an article written by Buskist, Andrew Christopher, and Mississippi State’s Jared Keeley: “Emerging Evidence for Excellent Teaching Across Borders,” which appears in Groccia, Alsudairi, and Buskist’s Handbook of College and University Teaching: A Global Perspective (2012), held by Mitchell Memorial Library.  The article gives evidence for “Two Universal Principles of Master Teaching” and also offers a 28-item “Teacher Behavior Checklist,” all in the context of the extent to which these findings are relevant not only in the U.S. but also globally.”

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