It’s the classic dilemma of university faculty—how to balance teaching and research. Faculty often say it can feel that each is to the detriment of the other, particularly for tenure-track faculty striving to publish while also engaged in the time-intensive preparation for teaching new courses. About six years ago, a group of BGSU faculty formed a learning community to study this “life out of balance” and share ideas and strategies with one another.
Meeting every other week at the Center for Teaching and Learning, eight to 10 members discussed their research projects, and the group brainstormed how better integration of their courses with the project could enhance both.
Several members of the interdisciplinary group (some of whom have since moved on to other universities) have recently published the results of their collaborations in the peer-reviewed Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. The article title, “The Ripple Effect: Lessons from a Research and Teaching Faculty Learning Community,” refers to their discovery that identifying ways to teach more efficiently not only strengthened their research agendas but also led to more effective teaching.
Discussing their pedagogical approaches are Drs. Andrew Hershberger, art history, on “Using Digital Technology in Art History Courses”; Paul Cesarini, visual communication technology, on “Using Undergraduate Researchers: Harvesting Students and Building Collaboration”; Jeffrey Gordon, geography, on “Using Student-Generated Exam Question-and Answer Sets,” and Canchu Lin, communication, on “Using Blackboard to Generate a Teacher-Student Communication Network.” Also included are former BGSU faculty members Drs. Maria Spence, social work; Andrew Mara, English; David Albrecht, accounting, and Kathleen Jorissen, education.
The learning community first presented the outcomes of its explorations in 2005 at the 25th annual Lilly Conference on College Teaching, at Miami University, and that same year jointly published in the journal Academe. Current BGSU faculty shared their most recent results at the 2009 BGSU Research Conference.