Academic journal article International Journal of Doctoral Studies

The Need for Teaching Doctoral Students How to Teach

Academic journal article International Journal of Doctoral Studies

The Need for Teaching Doctoral Students How to Teach

Article excerpt


"It has been said that college teaching is the only profession for which there is no professional training, and it is commonly argued that this is because our graduate schools train scholars and scientists rather than teachers. We are more concerned with the discovery of knowledge than with its dissemination." (Skinner, n.d., p. 77)

Is teaching important in schools of business? The Porter and McKibbon (1988, p. 53) study revealed that while faculty members had very different perceptions than deans and provosts, all believed that teaching was and should be more important than research. However, all appeared to agree that research would become more important, and faculty believed that research would supersede teaching in importance. More than 20 years later their predictions have come true. But there are four developments that suggest that the tide may again be shifting to a more balanced focus on teaching and scholarship.

Focus on Outcome-Based Education

The National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE) (1983) report galvanized the nation's attention and began a widespread call for fundamental reforms that would improve student achievements. The NCEE report declared America to be a "nation at risk ... [whose] educational foundations ... are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people" (p. 1). The report's basic criticism was that America's young people were not learning enough, and it emphasized the input focus and resource-based strategies of the mid-1960s and stated that the Great Society had failed to improve the nation's education results significantly. Weak academic achievement of America's young people, therefore, was the key education problem.

This recognition led a fundamental shift in evaluating educational quality. Previously, the conventional wisdom judged quality in terms of inputs: intentions and efforts, institutions and services, as well as resources and teaching. After the NCEE (1983) report, the focus shifted to outputs: products and results, outcomes and effects--with an emphasis on core academic subjects. The primary question to be asked no longer was: "What are we teaching?", rather: "What are our students learning and how well are they learning?"

The initial experiments on Outcome-Based Education (OBE) were done at the elementary and secondary school levels. As Manno (1994) noted, the results of OBE were mixed and generated much controversy. A major reason for the clash is that states turned over the crucial task of defining outcomes to the very education officials most threatened by the process. Although having adopted, in general principle, a focus on results, many educators then proceeded to promote vague outcomes emphasizing values, attitudes, and behaviors--often reflecting quasi-political and ideologically correct positions--rather than knowledge, skills, and other cognitive academic outcomes. In so doing, education bureaucrats took a sensible principle--an emphasis on results--and hijacked its meaning so that accountability was actually made impossible. They used the very language of accountability to avoid being held accountable. One state Board of Education developed 127 graduation outcomes for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Some like "Appreciation and Understanding Others" were not definable or measurable.

Although the results had been mixed, university-level discipline accrediting bodies began to encourage schools to shift to an OBE approach with real and academically critical learning outcomes. Over the past decade, the American Associate of Medical Education (AAME), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International have all mandated some form of OBE assessment. Figure 1 illustrates an OBE methodology.


The OBE methodology noted in Figure 1 works as follows. …

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