Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Six Ways to Improve Your Department’s Teaching Climate

Taken from: Maryellen Weimer PhD, Faculty Focus.


In the same way a classroom’s climate is created jointly by teacher and student actions, a department’s teaching climate results from collective contributions. Of course, department chairs and other administrators play key leadership roles, but they alone are not responsible for creating the teaching climate. We all contribute by what we say and do regarding teaching. Sometimes we say and do nothing, and this too becomes part of the culture.

Academics lead busy lives, and our first teaching priority must be what we do in our courses. Good teaching takes time, and it does make a positive contribution to the climate within a department. Do we have a responsibility to do more? That’s probably a decision best made individually. Sometimes we are willing to do more but are bereft of ideas. I can help on that front. Here are some actions that can advance the teaching and learning agenda. Please feel free to add to the list.
  • Regularly season talk about teaching and learning with good ideas, information, and evidence. Just a pinch of salt can really enhance how something tastes. Maybe it’s a pithy quote, a research finding, a provocative question, or a pedagogical reading recommendation that is shared online, posted in a prominent place, or tacked onto the department meeting agenda. Read More...