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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Highlighted

The teachers came to learn.

The annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Showcase Week, presented by Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, brought together faculty and administrators Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, 2009, for presentations and discussions on methods to investigate and improve student learning.

The centerpiece of the week was the keynote by Dennis Jacobs, vice president and associate provost for undergraduate and international studies at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana. Jacobs, who is also a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, talked about an innovative Chemistry Department program that raised the performance of students. The department identified, by grades and test scores, students who were likely to fall behind in science courses. Then, by focusing on broad concepts and developing a group-centered approach to studying, students became engaged with learning the material in a more meaningful way. For the LMU audience, Jacobs documented improvement in grades and in the retention of students in science classes.

The week included a presentation by LMU Carnegie Scholars Michelle Hammers, professor of communication studies, and Michael Lee, S.J., professor of theological studies, and finished with a roundtable discussion on “Integrating Evidence of Student Learning into the Professional Lives of Faculty.”

Jacobs, in his keynote, touched on the importance of scholarship of teaching and learning, a growing movement in higher education that applies the tools of academic inquiry to the classroom setting to investigate how students learn and to document and share more effective teaching methods to reach them.

According to Jackie Dewar, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and planner of the Showcase week, Jacobs illustrated in a compelling way how the scholarship of teaching and learning can have a tremendous impact not just on a single classroom but on classrooms all across the academy when findings are made public and available for others to build on.

For more information about the Center for Teaching Excellence, click here.