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for the Scholarship of Teaching
In November, the College of Education launched the Center for the Scholarship of Teaching under the direction of Associate Professor Suzanne Wilson.
The center has two primary goals. The first is to foster cross-university discussions about teaching and learning, and to engage in activities that will provide insight into improving teaching at Michigan State University. The second is to explore ways to support a scholarship of teaching and learning in local k12 schools and the university. This would entail documenting, describing, and publishing work related to teaching.
Although based in the College of Education, the center will actively seek to work with faculty members throughout the university and local schools, and to support the creation of a public, peer-reviewed scholarship of teaching.
For Wilson, the new center is part of a broader national movement that has focused on the teaching in higher education as a scholarly endeavor.
Its not just people discussing what they are doing in the classroom, Wilson said. We need to have those conversations. That is a given. But we also want to create forums and supports for teachers to then write and publish their ideas about teaching.
The center officially opened with a two-day university-wide conference that was designed to stimulate discussion around the questions raised by a scholarship of teaching.
The conference opened with a keynote address by Lee Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and a leading figure in the movement to establish a scholarship of teaching in higher education. The conference also included professors from other MSU departments, including engineering, natural science, English, mathematics, philosophy, sociology, and James Madison College. Faculty from the University of Michigan and Columbia University also spoke.
Wilson believes there is much that can be learned from professors sharing their ideas about effective or innovative ways of teaching. She pointed out that there are established traditions in some fields, such as English, of writing about teaching. The center hopes to build on those already established practices, as well as draw on researchers who study k12 teaching.
There has been a lot of interest at Michigan State on teaching, but there hasnt been a physical place, a center dedicated to it, to sustaining it and enabling it, Wilson said. We hope to create a physical space where people can come together and generate new scholarship supported by their experience and inquiry.
Since its grand opening, the center has hosted a speaker series that has included writers and educators Karen Gallas and Vivian Paley. Throughout its first year, the center is providing faculty members the opportunity to meet and discuss their teaching. Wilson hopes the conversations will create a shared agenda for the center in future years.
More information on
the center is available on the Web at http://www.educ.msu.edu/cst/index.html.