Effective College and University Teaching: Strategies and Tactics for the New Professoriate


William Buskist & Victor A. Benassi

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
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  • Dedication

    In memory of Victor Anthony Benassi, Sr.

    Victor Benassi

    For Harper Aurelia Payne: May all your teachers be excellent.

    William Buskist


    View Copyright Page


    We have devoted the bulk of our academic careers to the professional development of graduate students and new faculty, especially in the area of teaching and learning at the college and university level. Combined, we have about 50 years of professional development experience related directly to improving college and university teaching. Countless hours of that half-century of work have been involved with creating, designing, and leading classes and workshops for graduate students and new faculty on “best practices” in college and university teaching. We have probably spent almost as many hours directly observing these individuals in the classroom and providing them feedback about their teaching. If there is one thing that we have learned with absolute certainty from this labor of love, it is that with proper training and practice, graduate students and new faculty can become highly skilled teachers—and in some cases, even excellent teachers.

    Preparing graduate students and new faculty for their teaching duties often has an impact on these individuals that transcends the development and refinement of their pedagogical skills. To be sure, although many of these individuals were once certain that they wanted solely a research career or a nonacademic career, some of them discovered that they truly enjoy teaching, and for the first time in their new careers, they contemplated an academic career in which teaching plays a central role in defining their work. These individuals discovered the transformative power of teaching in guiding their professional lives and in shaping the lives of their students. In short, through their formal pedagogical training, these individuals discovered that college and university teaching is worthy of the time it takes to become proficient at it.

    We crafted this volume in part to share this message with our readers, be they graduate students, new faculty, faculty developers, or experienced teachers. The larger part of our purpose, though, is to share with our readers what is known about effective teaching and what is known about teaching that information to others. Thus, this book is intended for graduate students who aspire to academic careers, new faculty making the transition to the professoriate, program directors and supervisors of graduate student teacher training, directors of teaching and learning centers, and seasoned faculty who may wish to update or otherwise improve their pedagogical knowledge and teaching.

    To help us accomplish our goals, we enlisted the help of leading pedagogical scientists, faculty developers who train graduate students and faculty for teaching, supervisors of graduate teaching assistant programs, new faculty, and even a few graduate students who have recently undergone training for teaching. Their collective efforts nicely summarize cutting-edge data and theory in the scholarship of teaching and learning and in current best practices for putting this knowledge into action online and in the classroom.

    As you may notice when you read through the biographical sketches of our contributors, the vast majority of our authors come from psychology departments or have academic backgrounds predominately in psychological science. This collection of particular authors is no accident. Psychology has long been interested in the empirical analysis of pedagogical practices and exporting what is practically useful from this inquiry to the classroom. Psychology is, after all, the study of human behavior, which includes, among other things, learning, thinking, communicating, and social interaction—all of which occur in the classroom, and for that matter, in online teaching. In fact, there is a small legion of psychologists whose professional identities center on the teaching of psychology and who take it as their raison d'etre to engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning as it applies to improving teaching at all levels and across all disciplines.

    As editors, we believe that our authors have much to offer our colleagues across the academy. As you will discover as you read the chapters in this volume, our authors address the gamut of issues central to college and university teaching in the 21st century, but do so in broad strokes, using language, ideas, and examples that apply to teachers interested in improving their teaching or helping others develop their teaching, regardless of subject matter or professional academic interest. For their excellent work and timely and insightful contributions, we thank each of our authors.

    We would also like to thank the many good people at Sage. First and foremost, we would like to thank Senior Acquisitions Editor Christine Cardone for her belief in this book and for her support during every phase of the project. From reading our prospectus to discussing issues related to the development of the project to even working with us to tweak our title, Chris was by our sides—and for her good work and good humor we extend to her our heartfelt gratitude. Chris's editorial assistant, Sarita Sarak, skillfully handled the innumerable behind-the-scenes details that were involved in creating, developing, and publishing this volume. Thank you, Sarita, for everything. We owe no small debt of gratitude to Marketing Manager Liz Thornton for her excellent work in getting the good word out to people like yourself about this volume. Brenda Weight did a marvelous job in her copyediting. To all of you at Sage, thank you again.

    Last, but far from least, we would like to thank our wives for their patience and support for us as we solicited, edited, and submitted manuscripts for this volume. Their good cheer at the end of the day made it possible for us to see the work through to fruition. Connie and Peg—you're the best.

    BillBuskistAuburn, Alabama
    VictorBenassi, Durham, New Hampshire February 2011


    SAGE Publications would like to thank the following reviewers:

    Stephen F. Davis

    Morningside College

    Sandra Goss Lucas

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Regan A. R. Gurung

    University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

    Rodolfo Mendoza

    University of California–Berkeley

    Steven Meyers

    Roosevelt University

    Stephen Prentice-Dunn

    University of Alabama

    Loreto R. Prieto

    Iowa State University

  • About the Editors

    William Buskist is the Distinguished Professor in the Teaching of Psychology at Auburn University and a Faculty Fellow at Auburn's Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. He has published over 40 articles and coedited a dozen books on teaching and learning in higher education, especially in the realm of the teaching of psychology. His recent book publications include The Teaching of Psychology: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer (with Stephen F. Davis; Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003); The Handbook of the Teaching of Psychology (with Davis; Blackwell, 2005); and Evidence-Based Teaching (with James Groccia; New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 2011); along with several e-books (http://teachpsych.org/resources/e-books/index.php). His many teaching awards include the Society for the Teaching of Psychology's Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award (2000); Auburn University's highest teaching honor, the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005); and the American Psychological Foundation's Charles L. Brewer Award for Excellence in Teaching (2009). He is a past president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and currently serves as the Society's Editor-in-Chief for e-books. He is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. His teaching at Auburn focuses heavily on preparing graduate students to teach at the college and university level, and his research addresses issues related to excellence in teaching. Six of his former graduate students have been awarded national teaching awards. (e-mail: buskiwf@auburn.edu)

    Victor A. Benassi is a professor of psychology and faculty director of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. He has taught courses in college teaching and supervised over 100 graduate students’ teaching of psychology since the early 1980s. In addition to research on teaching and learning, his publications have addressed such topics as judgment of personal control, belief in alleged paranormal phenomena, and depression. Professor Benassi is involved in developing and implementing Preparing Future Faculty programs at UNH, including the university's formal academic program in college teaching that is available to graduate students and faculty from UNH and other institutions. In recent years, he has been developing an online course titled Preparing to Teach a Psychology Course. To date, over 350 graduate students and faculty from the United States and nearly a dozen other countries have completed the course. Dr. Benassi also has appointments as Professor of Psychology (Psychology Department) and Professor of College Teaching (Graduate School). He has received several UNH awards—the Excellence in Teaching Award, the Outstanding Use of Technology in Education Award, and the College of Liberal Arts’ Lindberg Outstanding Scholar/Teacher Award. In 2003, he received the American Psychological Foundation's Distinguished Teaching of Psychology award. (e-mail: Victor.Benassi@unh.edu)

    About the Contributors

    • Robert Bubb is a Teaching Fellow and doctoral candidate in industrial and organizational psychology at Auburn University. He received a master's degree in psychology from Brigham Young University in 2008, and his current research focuses on the efficacy of digital learning products in the classroom. (e-mail: robb.bubb@auburn.edu)
    • Brennan D. Cox is an Aerospace Experimental Psychologist with the U.S. Navy. His research interests include individual differences, personnel selection, and training design and evaluation. (e-mail: cox.brennan@gmail.com)
    • David B. Daniel is a Professor of Psychology at James Madison University. His research focuses on the application of psychological science to positively affect both student learning and teacher performance, especially in ecologically valid contexts. (e-mail: danieldb@jmu.edu)
    • Stephen F. Davis is Roe R. Cross Professor Emeritus at Emporia State University and Distinguished Guest Professor at Morningside College. His research on academic dishonesty spanned three decades and culminated in the book Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do. (e-mail: davis122@suddenlink.net)
    • Diego Flores has been an adjunct faculty member at Utah Valley University in International Business and Organizational Behavior and is currently pursuing a PhD in behavioral economics at Brigham Young University. (e-mail: diegogfloresg@hotmail.com)
    • Peter J. Giordano is Professor and Chair of Psychological Science at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. A Fellow of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, he has served as National President of Psi Chi and as the Methods and Techniques Editor for Teaching of Psychology. (e-mail: pete.giordano@belmont.edu)
    • Gary S. Goldstein is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, where he is Chair of the Division of Social Sciences and Program Coordinator of Psychology. He has 30 years of experience teaching in the college classroom and is a recipient of the UNH Manchester Excellence in Teaching Award. His research interests focus on various dimensions of college teaching. (email: gsg@unh.edu)
    • Elizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. Her research interests focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning, and she is a coauthor of Psychology Applied to Modern Life. (e-mail: eyhammer@xula.edu)
    • G. William (Bill) Hill IV is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and former Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University. His professional interests and research focus on faculty development and effective teaching. (e-mail: bhill@kennesaw.edu)
    • Thomas P. Hogan is Professor of Psychology and Distinguished University Fellow at the University of Scranton, where he served for 10 years as Dean of the Graduate School and now teaches psychological testing, research methods, and statistics. His specialization is psychometrics, and he is author of numerous articles, chapters, and books related to testing, as well as coauthor of several nationally standardized tests. (e-mail: Thomas. Hogan@Scranton.edu)
    • Christopher R. Howard is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Husson University. His current research focuses on educational applications of cognitive psychology and the scholarship of teaching and learning. (e-mail: howardc@husson.edu)
    • Krisztina Varga Jakobsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at James Madison University. In addition to studying cognitive development, she examines the effectiveness of team-based learning. (e-mail: vargakx@jmu.edu)
    • Jared W. Keeley is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Mississippi State University. He has won several teaching-related awards and has a strong interest in improving the quality of graduate student teaching training. (e-mail: jkeeley@psychology.msstate.edu)
    • James H. Korn was Professor of Psychology at Saint Louis University and now is retired. Since receiving his PhD at Carnegie-Mellon University (1965), his interests have included physiological psychology, program evaluation, adult development, research ethics, and the history of psychology; his current interest is the development of college teachers. He is the coauthor of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology e-book, A Guide for Beginning Teachers of Psychology. (e-mail: kornjh@earthlink.net)
    • Sandra Goss Lucas is the retired Director of Introductory Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, although she continues to teach. She is the author of two books on teaching psychology at the college level and a codeveloper of the University of Illinois Psychology Department's new TA orientation. (e-mail: gossluca@cyrus.psych.illinois.edu)
    • Mark A. McDaniel is a Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, with a joint appointment in education. His research is in the general area of human learning and memory, with an emphasis on prospective memory, encoding and retrieval processes in episodic memory, and applications to educational contexts. (e-mail: mmcdanie@artsci.wustl.edu)
    • Steven A. Meyers is Professor of Psychology and Mansfield Professor of Social Justice at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. His research interests include faculty development, effective college instruction, and parent-child relations. (e-mail: smeyers@roosevelt.edu)
    • Harold L. Miller, Jr., is Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University. His scholarly interests include behavioral economics (the relative effects of gains and losses), evolutionary psychology, computer-based educational assessment, and education reform. (e-mail: harold_miller@byu.edu)
    • John C. Norcross is Professor of Psychology and Distinguished University Fellow at the University of Scranton, where he teaches courses in career development, clinical psychology, and field experience. Among his recent books are the second editions of the History of Psychotherapy and Psychotherapy Relationships That Work, along with the seventh edition of Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis. (e-mail: Norcross@Scranton.edu)
    • Catherine E. Overson earned her PhD in social psychology from the University of New Hampshire in 2011. She is interested in individual differences related to judgment of performance in academic settings, and her research is aimed at identifying theoretically based individual differences in self-efficacy and study behaviors related to academic performance. (e-mail: coverson@unh.edu)
    • Rosemary E. Phelps is Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia, and Director of the University of Georgia Preparing Future Faculty in Psychology program. She is the 2010 recipient of the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology. Research interests include racial and ethnicity identity, experiences of students and faculty of color at predominantly white institutions, and mentoring relationships. (e-mail: rephelps@uga.edu)
    • Steven Prentice-Dunn is a social psychologist at the University of Alabama. He investigates preventive health behaviors and has taught the Teaching of Psychology course for more than 20 years. (e-mail: sprentic@bama.ua.edu)
    • Rebecca G. Ryan received her PhD in life-span developmental psychology from West Virginia University. She is currently a teacher and researcher at Georgia Southern University. Her interests include social and cognitive development, psychology and law, and effective teaching through service learning. (e-mail: rgryan@georgiasouthern.edu)
    • Bryan K. Saville is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at James Madison University. He is an Associate Editor for Teaching of Psychology and studies evidence-based teaching methods. (e-mail: savillbk@jmu.edu)
    • Cecilia M. Shore is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching, and University Assessment at Miami University. She has received teaching awards from the university and college and has led Preparing Future Faculty and Graduate Student Teaching Effectiveness programs. (e-mail: shorec@muohio.edu)
    • Mark M. Silvestri is currently a graduate student at Auburn University pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. Beyond teaching, his research interests also include substance abuse issues among college students. (e-mail: mms0016@auburn.edu)
    • Randolph A. Smith is Professor of Psychology and Department Chair at Lamar University, where he teaches research methods and is Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Enhancement. He is actively involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning, edited Teaching of Psychology for 12 years, and is current Editor of the Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research. (e-mail: rasmith@lamar.edu)
    • Jennifer J. Stiegler-Balfour is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of New England. Her research investigates cognitive processes that support learning and memory within the context of reading comprehension. She earned her PhD in cognitive psychology and a Master of Science for teachers in college teaching from the University of New Hampshire. (e-mail: jstiegler@une.edu)
    • Janie H. Wilson teaches and conducts research at Georgia Southern University. She received her PhD from the University of South Carolina in 1994. In the teaching realm, she conducts research on student-teacher rapport. (e-mail: jhwilson@georgiasouthern.edu)
    • Cynthia Wooldridge is a PhD candidate in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests involve human learning and memory, specifically visual perspective in autobiographical memory and applications to educational contexts. (e-mail: Cynthia.wooldridge@wustl.edu)
    • Tracy E. Zinn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at James Madison University. She conducts research on effective teaching practices at the university level, focusing particularly on interteaching and other behavioral methods of instruction. (e-mail: zinnte@jmu.edu)
    • Dorothy D. Zinsmeister is Professor Emeritus of Biology and former Interim Executive Director of the Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics & Character at Kennesaw State University. She also served as an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Georgia. (e-mail: dzinsmei@kennesaw.edu)

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