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Faculty to Meet Today To Debate Teaching Skills

By Amy B. Mcintosh

The full Faculty will begin discussion today of the report of the Task Force on Pedagogical Improvement, completed over two years ago, although the College has already implemented some of the report's suggestions.

In its first meeting of the year, the Faculty will also hear Dean Rosovsky present his annual budget letter to the Faculty, and President Bok will report on the upcoming $250 million capital fund drive.

The report makes five recommendations to the Faculty for improving teaching, including increased consideration of teaching ability in appointment, promotion and tenure decisions, and the establishment of a Center for Excellence in Teaching.

Rosovsky implemented one of the task force's suggestions when he sent a letter to department chairmen in November 1976, instructing them to include evaluations of teaching abilities in all recommendations for tenured positions.

Five Biggies

Rosovsky set up the task force, charged with studying ways to improve the quality of teaching in the College, in 1975 when he formed six other task forces to investigate different areas of college life. The Core Curriculum debate delayed consideration of the task force's report until now.

Since teaching may take time away from research needed to establish an academic reputation, the report also recommends allowing Faculty members to take two successive semesters with an overload of teaching, giving them one semester with a light teaching load to concentrate on research and writing.

Pedagogy, Si

The Danforth Center for Teaching and Learning currently exists as a center for teaching skills, but its original $205,000 grant from the Danforth Foundation ran out last year. The task force recommends that the Faculty establish a Standing Committee for Pedagogical Improvement to direct and support the center.

The center, established three years ago, provides videotaping and evaluation of teachers in the classroom, and sponsors programs and lectures to train teachers.

The task force also suggests that each department provide some form of training for its teaching fellows in their first year and that each department submit an annual self-evaluation to Rosovsky of the quality of the instruction it provides.

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Suggesting that the high student-faculty ratio in large lecture courses may make teaching more difficult, the task force proposes that student and teaching fellows evaluate individual courses.

The report also suggests the establishment of competing large courses under different names with different approaches to similar material, to encourage course leaders to keep their approaches fresh.

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