Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor: One of the Mixed Blessings of Being a Dean

Magazine article Liberal Education

From the Editor: One of the Mixed Blessings of Being a Dean

Article excerpt

One of the mixed blessings of being a dean was observing classes taught by faculty on tenure track as part of their annual evaluation. Evaluation tended toward the developmental in that these were young faculty finding their way in professing a discipline. As the person who had hired them, I had an investment in their success. Since they knew ahead of time that their class would be visited, what I observed, I assumed, was their best effort, allowing for initial nerves at having an observer.

It doesn't take long to recognize that the art of teaching is defined by each person who teaches. There is no one way. The professor's vast disciplinary learning is distilled by his or her classroom persona with all its uniqueness of thinking and expression. I witnessed the alchemy of turning the arcane or complex into manageable learning opportunities. Some used graphics or displays, some interacted with provocative questions or challenges woven into lectures. …

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