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  1. 1. Teaching at Tufts: Students’ Perceptions of the Research and Teaching Balancing Act Presentation to Academic Affairs Committee Trustee Weekend, February 5th, 2010
  2. 2. Road Map <ul><li>Tufts and the Research-Teaching Spectrum </li></ul><ul><li>Student Perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Tufts’ Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions for the Future </li></ul>
  3. 3. University’s Goal “ Students come to Tufts knowing they will have access to world-class scholars who are interested in their teaching and want to get to know their students.”
  4. 4. Liberal Arts and Research <ul><li>Tufts balances the benefits of a liberal arts education with the resources of a Research 1 university </li></ul><ul><li>Over the past few decades, emphasis has been on advancing research </li></ul><ul><li>Tufts’ research efforts are well-publicized and have advanced the University’s reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Tufts emphasizes that the benefits of research carry over into the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>“ Teaching has always been a priority, we just hear about research because that’s what is changing” - Linda Jarvin, CELT Director </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ A Good Academic Experience” <ul><li>Students want: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An engaging class that inspires them to declare their major </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dinner at their professor’s house </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An unintimidating math professor who knows the tough areas of syllabus and can identify blank looks in class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A couple of professors they know well enough to ask for recommendation letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An advisor who can offer lab and research opportunities and graduate school advice </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. A Great Professor Is: Caring Organized Engaging
  7. 7. Students’ Perceptions <ul><li>While students have a good overall academic experience , the perception is that the University prioritizes research and reputation over teaching quality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students experience bad teaching that doesn’t seem to change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students experience great teachers who don’t seem to be rewarded for their teaching work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative examples carry more publicity and impact more than positive ones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students understand the need for research and are willing to make sacrifices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Tufts just tries to perpetuate the image that teaching ‘matters’ and that research and teaching are balanced.” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Teaching at Tufts <ul><li>What resources exist to emphasize and encourage good teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we cultivate a positive teaching culture? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we demonstrate to students that Tufts values teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the University capitalize on its teaching resources to create a better teaching culture and raise students’ perceptions? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Course Evaluations <ul><li>At the end of the semester, student complete anonymous course evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>57% of students feel that course evaluations have little to no impact on professors/departments* </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves the “evaluation loop” open </li></ul><ul><li>How can the course evaluation system be improved? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>System is being updated to an electronic version within 2 years which will collect and present evaluation data online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>89% of students would be likely or very like to use previous course evaluations to pick future classes if information was available* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to close the evaluation loop </li></ul></ul>* TCU Senate Survey Fall 2009
  10. 10. Tenure Considerations Research Teaching
  11. 11. Professors of the Practice <ul><li>Hired to bring real world experiences into the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Professors of the Practice are free to focus on teaching with the “overhead” of maintaining funded research </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily an Engineering School program (12 positions), but recently expanded to Arts and Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Great program that can be expanded to “practical” fields </li></ul>
  12. 12. Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) <ul><li>Offers faculty development seminars, workshops, and individual consultations, mentoring programs </li></ul><ul><li>Selected by Dartmouth’s faculty development center as a peer institution </li></ul><ul><li>Given support to over 300 faculty across three campuses (2008-2009) </li></ul><ul><li>CELT basics are funded centrally through Tufts, all programming is funded through outside grants </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on “organic growth” through a positive, open teaching culture </li></ul><ul><li>How do we reach out to professors who most need the most teaching help? </li></ul>
  13. 13. SPIRIT (Students and Professors Integrating Recreation, Intellect and Teaching) Fund <ul><li>Program designed to promote faculty-student interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Popular in foreign language departments </li></ul><ul><li>67% of graduating seniors have never been a guest in a faculty member’s home* </li></ul><ul><li>56% of graduating seniors have never eaten a meal on campus with a faculty member* </li></ul><ul><li>$15,000 budget/year </li></ul><ul><li>Funded 60+ events </li></ul><ul><li>178 meetings in Tower café </li></ul><ul><li>How can we further promote faculty-student interaction? </li></ul>* Tufts Senior Survey 2009
  14. 14. Recommendations <ul><li>Put a stronger emphasis on teaching in tenure and hiring considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Follow though on new course evaluation system and close the “evaluation loop” </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage positive teaching culture by expanding programs under the umbrella of CELT </li></ul><ul><li>Publicize teaching and teaching-research programs to students and faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage faculty-student interaction by expanding and publicizing the SPIRIT Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Increase the number of Professors of the Practice </li></ul>
  15. 15. Many Thanks To: <ul><li>TCU Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Secretary of the Corporation Linda Dixon and Paul Tringale </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Provost for Institutional Research Dawn Terkla </li></ul><ul><li>Dean of Academic Affairs Andrew McClellan </li></ul><ul><li>Professor Sol Gittleman </li></ul><ul><li>CELT Director Linda Jarvin </li></ul><ul><li>Professor Susan Russinoff </li></ul><ul><li>Professors Ben Hescott and Norman Ramsey </li></ul><ul><li>Professor Charles Inouye </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Jeanne Dillon </li></ul><ul><li>Former Trustee DJ McGrath </li></ul>

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