Practical Approaches to Using Learning Styles in Higher Education

By Rita Dunn; Shirley A. Griggs | Go to book overview

Preface

The quality of teaching in many of our colleges and universities is perceived as deplorable and is under attack by many outstanding academicians. Former Harvard University president Derek Bok observed that teaching in academe is one of the few human activities that does not get demonstrably better from one generation to the next (1982). A research report, distributed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, concluded:

In the current climate, students all too often are the losers … in glossy brochures they’re assured that teaching is important, that a spirit of community pervades the campus, and that general education is the core of the undergraduate experience. But the reality is that on far too many campuses, teaching is not well rewarded and faculty who spend too much time counseling and advising students may diminish their prospects for tenure and promotion. (Boyer, 1990, pp. xi–xii)

Anderson (1992) scathingly asserted that many university intellectuals have betrayed their profession by scorning their students and disdaining teaching. He maintained that the critical problem is not that many professors do not teach well, but that so few teach at all. This has resulted in a significant part of teaching responsibilities being assumed by teaching assistants. Anderson concluded that ‘‘students teaching students,’’ often without training, supervision, or expertise, is so extensive and pervasive that it actually threatens the validity of a university education (1992, p. 61).

Some institutions of higher education have begun to address these criticisms by reordering priorities and linking teaching effectiveness to faculty personnel actions for tenure and promotion. Additionally, on selected college campuses, learning and teaching centers have been instituted to help

-ix-

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