What is the Point of a Teacher?

If one thing unites Molly Worthen, Damon Linker, and my colleagues in SoTL, it is the view that teachers--whatever we are doing in the classroom--are a central component of what makes the collegiate experience worth more than four years of trips to the public library. But why? What is it that makes a teacher valuable in a way that books are not? In this post, I propose that how we answer this question--that is, how we conceptualize the value of the teacher--is likely to be the best predictor of whether and how we use the lecture within our pedagogical repertoire. 

Do Student Evaluations of Teaching Really Get an "F?"

It's been a bad year for student evaluations. In the space of two weeks in October, both NPR and the Harvard Business Review published pieces summarizing studies that were critical of their use. With provocative titles like "Student Course Evaluations Get an F" and "Better Teachers Receive Worse Student Evaluations," these pieces were (and continue to be) widely shared and much discussed among academics.

The Place of the Private ("Deeply Religious"?) Self in Higher Education

I’m 10 days late to an important Twitter conversation that began when Brian Croxall sent a few holiday-inspired tweets about his reluctance to share his religious beliefs with his academic friends. Brian’s reflections elicited a lot of sympathy, and given the number of responses, it’s clear he struck a chord. I just saw this conversation today, but I wanted to respond because I think those of us who study and teach religion—and particularly those of us who study the intersection of religion and public life—should be part of this conversation.