A review of Bowen and McPherson’s Lesson Plan

Reforming higher education increasingly appears on the public agenda. Politicians from both parties have decried tuition increases and the need for a better educated workforce. The problems facing higher education today are complex, interconnected, and difficult to fix. However, the constant complaints often focus on problems that aren’t as serious or are simply not the major areas that we need to address. Recently, William G. Bowen and Michael S. McPherson have joined this conversation with their new book, Lesson Plan:  An Agenda for Change in American Higher Education.

Selling the college experience

In a difficult financial environment, institutions look to any advantage to recruit students. The revenue challenges facing public universities have caused those institutions to look to alternative revenue streams. In particular, many public universities have started to seek nonresident students to increase enrollment and revenue. Recently, I published a paper exploring this in College & University coauthored with a former student, Marybeth Smith. In today’s post, I want to share an excerpt from this work covering one of the key findings we found.

Selling the college experience

Photo credit: USA Today

Public institutions have begun mimicking the recruiting practices of private universities. This is one of many factors leading to the privatization of public universities. 

10 tips for teaching your first college class

Teaching your first college class can be exhilarating, but also intimidating. Like most faculty, I didn’t receive much training in graduate school in how to teach or design effective college courses. Over the years, I learned how to get better and also took advantage of the great resources that are available to help college instructors. No matter how well you know the content you’re teaching, teaching your first class can be tough for anyone. In today’s post, I will share 10 tips for teaching your first college class.

Teaching your first college class

Graduate school does a wonderful job developing disciplinary content knowledge, but a lousy job preparing you to teach your first college class.

Texas campus carry is about politics

August 1st is a tragic day in the history of the University of Texas at Austin.  On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman opened fire from atop the iconic tower at the University of Texas killing 14, wounding 46 others. In a cruel twist of fate, August 1, 2016, the fiftieth anniversary of the attack coincided with the implementation of the new campus carry law. The contentious new law allows concealed handgun permit holders to carry guns into most public college campus buildings. In today’s post, I will discuss the new law and why I see it as bad precedent—but maybe not for the reason you’d expect.

Texas campus carry is about politics

Photo credit: Leann Mueller

Before discussing the campus carry law, I should identify my own bias on this issue. Like most Americans, I believe there is a right to own guns. I also believe reasonable regulations are necessary, desperately needed, and allowed by the U.S. Constitution.

Texas isn’t the first state to allow guns to be carried into campus buildings, but it is the largest. Given the current debate over gun control, it has also been the most controversial.

A review of Claire Major’s Teaching Online

I have always been a skeptic of online education. As someone who thrives on the power of face-to-face instruction, I have always doubted the ability of online education to equal that experience. Yet, as someone in a faculty development role, I have to acknowledge that online education is something we have to give attention to in today’s environment. To that end, I have an excellent resource to recommend to anyone thinking about teaching online or trying to support those teaching online. My colleague and coauthor on Teaching for Learning has a new book that provides a valuable discussion of the research and practice related to online education. In today’s post, I will share my review of Claire Major’s Teaching Online: A Guide to Theory, Research, and Practice (Johns Hopkins, 2015).

Photo credit: University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism

I was familiar with the basics of online education, but found Major’s Teaching Online did a great job providing a mix of research findings and practice questions to consider.