About the Book
Over the past two decades, a growing body of scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) has emerged. This empirical study of teaching methods, course design, and student study practices has yielded invaluable information about how teachers teach and learners learn. Yet, university faculty members remain largely unaware of the findings of SoTL research. As a result, they tend to choose their teaching techniques and tools based on intuition and previous experience rather than on scientific evidence of effectiveness. This book synthesizes SoTL findings to help teachers choose techniques and tools that maximize student learning. In order to stimulate future SoTL research, the book also recommends numerous areas for future investigation. It concludes with advice for documenting teaching effectiveness for tenure review committees.
About the Author: Beth M. Schwartz, PhD, is currently Catherine Ehrman Thoresen '23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of Psychology and Assistant Dean of Randolph College. She received her PhD in cognitive psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1991. Her early work focused on factors that influence the accuracy of child witnesses, in particular how changes in the legal system can create a more age-appropriate interview for young children. In addition to her continuing interests in psychology and law, she is also involved in a research program on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). She has given over 100 professional presentations at conferences and published over 20 books, book chapters, and professional articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her work has appeared in journals such as Law and Human Behavior and the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. She has worked with more than 1,000 students at Randolph College. She was the founder of the Faculty Development Center, serving as faculty development coordinator from 2000 to 2007 on her campus, providing faculty with programming focused on refining one's teaching to become most effective in the classroom. With these programs, she has created an environment in which discussing SoTL is a norm. In her role as assistant dean of the college, she continues her involvement in SoTL on her own campus. Dr. Schwartz is coauthor of Optimizing Teaching and Learning: Practicing Pedagogical Research (2009, with Regan A. R. Gurung) and coeditor Child Abuse: A Global View (2001, with Michelle McCauley and Michelle Epstein). She is a member of APA and the Association for Psychological Science, a Fellow of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2), and a member of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS, Division 41 of APA). In addition, she served as the associate director for programming of regional conferences in the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. At Randolph College, she teaches Introduction to Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Research Methods, and a Senior Research Capstone Course and is an award-winning teacher (2001 Randolph College Gillie A. Larew Award for Distinguished Teaching; 2006 Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award from AP-LS). She currently serves as chair of the Psychology Department. Regan A. R. Gurung, PhD, is Ben J. and Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB). He received his PhD in social/personality psychology from the University of Washington-Seattle in 1996. His early work focused on social support and close relationships, and he studied how perceptions of support from close others influence relationship satisfaction. His later work investigated cultural differences in coping with stressors such as HIV infection, pregnancy, and smoking cessation. Building on and continuing with his previous interests, he currently has three main areas of interest: culture and health, impression formation and clothing, and pedagogical psychology. His research on pedagogy is designed to answer the simple question: How can we optimize student learning? His research involves gaining a thorough knowledge of extant attempts to understand how students learn and focuses on three major components: student behaviors (e.g., study techniques), instructor behaviors (how is learning facilitated?), and the means by which content is transferred (textbooks and technology). Studies in progress address each of these areas. He has given more than 150 professional presentations at conferences and published nine books, 22 book chapters, and over 40 professional articles in peer-reviewed journals. His work has appeared in journals such as Psychological Review, Teaching of Psychology, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. He has supervised over 200 undergraduate independent studies and taught more than 6,000 students at UWGB; the University of California, Los Angeles; and California State University, Long Beach. During summer 2008, he participated in the National Conference for Undergraduate Education in Psychology at the University of Puget Sound, serving as contributor to a working group concerned with optimizing the curriculum for undergraduate education in psychology. Dr. Gurung is author of Health Psychology: A Cultural Approach (2nd ed., 2010) and Optimizing Teaching and Learning: Practicing Pedagogical Research (2009, with Beth M. Schwartz) and editor of Culture and Mental Health: Sociocultural Influence, Theory, and Practice (2009, with Sussie Eshun); Getting Culture: Incorporating Diversity Across the Curriculum (2009, with Loreto Prieto); and Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind (2009, with Nancy L. Chick and Aeron Haynie). He is a member of APA, a Fellow of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2), chair of the Education and Training Council (part of APA Division 38), and codirector of the UWGB Teaching Scholars Program. Dr. Gurung is an award-winning teacher (UWGB Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching, Featured Faculty Award, Creative Teaching Award) and researcher (UWGB Founders Award for Excellence in Scholarship). At UWGB, he teaches Introduction to Psychology; Health Psychology; and Culture, Development, and Health. He served as national president of the Society for Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) in 2011, chair of the UWGB Psychology Department from 2003-2005, associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UWGB from 2006-2008, and chair of Human Development at UWGB from 2008-2010.