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September 25, 2008

Faculty book discussions set

Faculty will be talking about teaching this fall in multiple book and article discussion sessions sponsored by the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence in conjunction with the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education.

This year’s faculty book discussion will focus on Marilla Svinicki’s “Learning and Motivation in the Postsecondary Classroom.” Sessions are set for noon-1:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 and 24.

In her book Svinicki, a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and former director of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Texas-Austin, discusses how students learn and what difficulties they face as they try to master coursework. She outlines learning and motivation theories then describes how to translate the theories into practice.

The faculty article discussion will be based on Rutgers zoology professor Lion F. Gardiner’s article, “Why We Must Change: The Research Evidence,” which appeared in the National Education Association’s Higher Education Journal in spring 1998. Discussions are scheduled for noon-1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 and 3:30-5 p.m. Oct. 23.

In his article, Gardiner reviews research on how students learn and what constitutes an effective educational experience. He calls for teachers to take action to improve the quality of their work based on the body of existing research.

The studies, he said, “consistently show that the college experience for most students comprises a loosely organized, unfocused curriculum, with undefined outcomes, classes that emphasize passive listening, lectures that transmit low-level information and assessments of learning that frequently demand only the recall of memorized material or low-level comprehension of concepts.”

Copies of the book or article are provided to faculty who register for the sessions. Enrollment is limited. Faculty can register online at or contact Michelle Lane-Ogden at or 412/383-9729 for more information.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 3

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