The Research Academy provides a number of services and resources for schools and departments. The Academy can offer special versions of its workshops for particular departments, or work with departments to develop new seminars to meet individual department needs. The Academy can help with grant proposals for initiatives to improve undergraduate or graduate education. The Research and Evaluation Unit within the Academy can offer assessment services for externally funded educational initiatives.
Through its research-based teaching initiative, the Academy works with departments, schools, and individuals to explore and use the existing research literature on human learning toaddress pedagogical issues and to find ways to contribute to that literature.
The Academy never evaluates anyone's teaching, but it has done extensive work on how best to evaluate teaching and can help departments address that issue.
The Academy develops and offers seminars for faculty members and graduate teaching assistants at Montclair. If your department or school is interested in holding a seminar on teaching, this page offers you some possible topics for those seminar. Contact the Academy to arrange for a seminar/workshop for you and your colleagues.
As professors explore ways to stimulate higher student learning, they will find two types of sources valuable. The last half of the twentieth century produced an enormous body of important research on human learning and motivation that can inform our pedagogical choices. The practices and thinking of outstanding teachers offer important insights. The Research Academy seminars allow participants to explore both the practices of the best teachers and the latest research and theory on how and why humans learn and how we can best understand the nature and progress of that learning.
All too often in our concern to teach, we can sometimes forget that teaching is not a goal in itself but rather is a practice aimed at helping students to learn. But what do we define the nature of learning? What does it mean to learn? What should students be able to do intellectually (or physically or emotionally) as a result of taking our classes? How do students understand and approach their learning? This seminar will provide participants an opportunity to explore these key questions, to re-conceptualize their thinking about learning, and to develop strategies for enhancing student learning...Participants will:
This seminar provides participants with the opportunity to explore the issues and practice of course and curriculum design. It will focus on devising course objectives, teaching strategies, and assessment/grading schemes, in terms of what it is we want our students to be able to do - intellectually, emotionally, physically or socially. Seminars goals include the ability to:
Designed to provide stimulating alternatives to conventional teaching, this seminar explores a range of methods for facilitating a deeper student interaction with the knowledge they are encountering. The intent is to evoke the student's capacity to generate problems and patterns, their tolerance for ambiguity, their imagination, and, crucially, a sense of fun and play. Seminar goals include:
The practice and ethos of small group teaching is central to the critical quality of inquiry in higher education. Small groups raise new opportunities for fostering excellence in learning and teaching, including the development of creative thinking, teamwork, problem solving and interpersonal skills. Seminar objectives include the ability to:
Rather than asking how we can use certain technologies, this seminar asks how (and whether) technologies can help us create better learning environments for our students. It helps participants explore both the research on human learning and technologies and some of the cutting-edge uses of technologies to foster learning.
This seminar is aimed at faculty for whom lecturing comprises a critical element of their teaching. Drawing upon research and theory, it is, nevertheless, an active seminar focusing on the "lecture" as critical to improving the quality of student learning. Participants will:
In light of widespread criticism of examination- based assessment methods from both students and faculty, many institutions have been rethinking their approach to student assessment. This seminar has been designed to address the critical issues involved. The seminar objectives include the ability to:
This seminar will help participants develop ways to foster discussions that are both lively and stimulating for student learning. Participants will engage in some of those approaches as they invent others to fit their classes and discipline. Seminar objectives include the ability to:
Can the make-up of the syllabus influence how students learn? What does the research on human learning and motivation suggest about how best to create a stimulating syllabus? This seminar helps participants consider the values of a new form syllabus that reflects the findings of the learning sciences.
Ernest Boyer suggested that we should expand the concept of scholarship to recognize that it has four major types: the scholarship of discovery (research), the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application, and, what some have argued is the highest form because it necessarily entails the other three, the scholarship of teaching. This seminar helps participants consider what that might mean and how they might contribute to the small but growing body of published literature that attempts to capture the scholarly aspects of teaching.
Must we depend only on student ratings to evaluate teaching? This seminar explores alternative approaches to evaluating teaching, including the use of peers to help evaluate and the development and use of teaching portfolio. It also allows participants to develop from the research a better understanding of what student ratings can and cannot tell us about the qualities of teaching.
The Academy is currently developing more Learning and Teaching workshops, including Science Teaching and Supervising Students.