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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tomorrow's Professor: Team Teaching and Student Learning: A Rough-and-Tumble Enterprise

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

Team Teaching and Student Learning: A Rough-and-Tumble Enterprise

Our knowledge of the world comes from gathering around great things in a complex and interactive community of truth. But good teachers do more than deliver the news from that community to their students. Good teachers replicate the process of knowing by engaging students in the dynamics of the community of truth. (Palmer, 1998, p. 115)

There's a messiness to team teaching that presents some of its biggest challenges, but also some of its most promising opportunities. Team teaching moves beyond the familiar and predictable and creates an environment of uncertainty, dialogue, and discovery. And that is what learning is all about.

Whether one is looking at classifications of critical thinking, or definitions of deep approaches to learning, or models of cognitive and ethical development (see Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001; Bowden & Marton, 2004; Perry, 1968), the goal for student learning is a dynamic, complex, and often unsettling place. In reporting on his study of what the best college teachers do, Ken Bain (2004) says, "[P]eople learn by confronting intriguing, beautiful, or important problems, authentic tasks that will challenge them to grapple with ideas, rethink their assumptions, and examine their mental models of reality" (p. 18).

Team teaching in itself is not really a teaching method and will not make achieving these learning goals inevitable. The instructors must still design a course and implement methods that challenge students to "grapple with ideas" and "rethink their assumptions." But team teaching does provide an ideal environment for this type of engagement, in part by making it almost impossible to stick with a teacher-centered classroom in which the teacher is the sole authority delivering knowledge to the students. The interaction of two teachers?both the intellectual interaction involved in the design of the course and the pedagogical interaction in teaching the course?creates a dynamic environment that reflects the way scholars make meaning of the world.

Almost by definition, team teaching encourages students (and teachers) to view the subject matter from multiple perspectives. When multiple teachers represent multiple perspectives on course content, they move students away from dualistic thinking toward higher (and deeper) stages of cognitive and ethical development. Students who enter a course wanting to see the teacher as the source of the "right" answers are now confronted with two or more teachers who have different views and sometimes completely different methodologies. While this may create some anxiety for students, as we discuss later, it also models for them how different perspectives come together to construct meaning.

Perhaps the dearest example of multiple perspectives comes in a common model of team teaching: the interdisciplinary course in which faculty from different disciplines teach around a common topic or theme. The next two chapters of this book explore two such courses. In chapter 1, Amy Jessen-Marshall and Hal Lescinsky, a microbiologist and a paleontologist, respectively, at Otterbein University, talk about their course, "Origins," which uses the techniques and perspectives of two different science disciplines to examine the question of human origins and evolution. In chapter 2, Min-Ken Liao and Sarah Worth of Furman University describe their course, "Disease and Culture," which examines the social, cultural, and ethical impact of disease from the divergent perspectives of philosophy and biology. As Liao and Worth say, "We believe this type of collaborative and interdisciplinary interaction in and of itself is a powerful demonstration to students that focused, interdisciplinary, team approaches to the pursuit of knowledge are at the core of a liberal arts education."

If it is true that "the undergraduate experience, often criticized as being fragmented, is challenged to develop more coherence by introducing students to essential knowledge, to connections across the disciplines, and to the application of knowledge to life beyond the campus" (McDaniel & Colarulli, 1997, p. 19), then higher education has been responding with greater emphasis on working across disciplinary boundaries. Both of these courses are products of initiatives intentionally designed to promote greater interdisciplinarity. "Origins" is part of Otterbein's Integrative Studies Program, a core element of the university's liberal arts mission, which "aims to prepare Otterbein undergraduates for the challenges and complexity of a 21st century world" by emphasizing "interdisciplinary and integrative skills, competencies, and ways of knowing" ( Likewise, Furman's general education program brings "a greater variety of intellectual perspectives into meaningful dialogue with one another, thus highlighting for students both the complementarity and the uniqueness of departmental and disciplinary voices" (Invigorating Intellectual Life, 2005).

This interplay of disciplinary voices is also evident in an introductory science course offered in the 1990s at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (described in chapter 5). In this course, taught by Ronald Duchovic and a team of faculty from different disciplines in the sciences, "it quickly became obvious that each question raised in the class discussion can be examined from the perspective of multiple, discipline-specific paradigms." The goal was to help students see the nature of scientific thinking and begin to understand how scientists make sense of the world.

Seeing differences between different perspectives is an important first step for students, but perhaps even more important is for them to see the connections. For example, Jessen-Marshall and Lescinsky describe how in their "Origins" class, "students will see how different fields address common questions, using a variety of techniques that support the validity of scientific tenets. This interconnectedness, often underappreciated by nonscientists, is in large part what gives scientists confidence that their understanding is correct." In a time when scientific literacy is becoming more important, classes such as these can contribute to students' becoming more knowledgeable citizens.

What these teachers are observing is a model of cognitive apprenticeship. Team teaching can "provide a means of focusing more on the process of learning instead of only on accumulating content knowledge" (Shibley, 2006, p. 271). Or, as Duchovic says of his course, students get to "hear a scientist think." When multiple instructors engage with each other in the class, they make their thinking processes and intellectual frameworks visible, thus encouraging greater metacognition on the part of the students, and better understanding of how we know what we know.

While interdisciplinary teams are one way to encourage this focus on process, it works for other kinds of partnerships as well. In chapter 3, Robert Richter and Margaret Thomas of Connecticut College bring together two very different sets of professional experience to the course "Arts and Community." Richter, who holds a staff position in arts programming, and Thomas, a faculty member in music theory, use the interplay of their two roles to model the concept of community that is central to the course topic.

Demonstrating yet another configuration, Mathew Ouellett and Edith Fraser discuss in chapter 4 how an interracial team of teachers from different institutions can facilitate students' understanding of race and racism in social work in their course, "Racism in the United States: Implications for Social Work Practice," in part by having a team of teachers "modeling authentic collaboration across racial differences." As Ouellett and Fraser say, "Perhaps the most unanticipated outcome of our teaching has been the discovery that, from our students' perspectives, observing our daily interactions and relationship as colleagues was more important to their learning than the formal curriculum."

In modeling the scholarly and professional processes of their fields, these teams of teachers can also create a learning environment where it is safe for students to confront intimidating subjects like science or challenging topics like racism. Seeing their teachers learn from each other and even disagree with each other models for students how scholars and informed citizens within a community of learning can navigate a complex and uncertain world.

Of course, none of this happens automatically. For example, although Jessen-Marshall and Lescinsky constructed their course to have pairs of labs exploring related topics from two different disciplinary approaches, the connection between the labs that was so apparent to them was at first lost on the students. They learned that they needed to make the connections clearer and more explicit for students, even to the point of renaming the two different labs part 1 and part 2 of the same lab to reinforce the connections.

Similarly, just watching teachers interact is not enough. I once took class as a student in which team teaching consisted mainly of four teachers arguing with each other in front of an audience of befuddled students. The teachers may have enjoyed the intellectual interplay of different disciplinary paradigms, but they apparently forgot that novice learners do not always see or understand the structure of content knowledge enough to appreciate this kind of dialogue.

In contrast, the classes described in this book all use many reflective activities?journals, reflection papers, guided discussion?to help students see the connections and grapple with complex and conflicting ideas. The combination of modeling reflection for the students and having students engage in their own reflection provides the kind of cognitive apprenticeship that introduces students into a community of learning.

As the Furman University curriculum review committee states, "Stimulating the mind for the pursuit of knowledge [is] a rough-and-tumble enterprise" (Invigorating, p. 9). Learning is indeed a rough-and-tumble enterprise and so is team teaching. But team teaching can also create an environment that makes this exploration safe. One method is to work actively to build community in the class. For example, Richter and Thomas's class attended arts performances together, and Liao and Worth's students bonded by baking cookies together to raise money for mosquito nets in Africa. But it also helps students to see their teachers learning and questioning.


Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bowden, J., & Marton, F. (2004). The university of learning: Beyond quality and competence. London: Routledge.

Invigorating intellectual life: A proposal for Furman University's academic program and calendar. (2005, September 10). Report to the Furman Faculty from the Curriculum Review Committee.

McDaniel, E. A., & Colarulli, G. C. (1997). Collaborative teaching in the face of productivity concerns: The dispersed team model. Innovative Higher Education, 22(1), 19-36.

Palmer, P. J. (1998). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Perry, W. (1968). Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Shibley, I. A. (2006). Interdisciplinary team teaching: Negotiating pedagogical differences. College Teaching, 54(3), 271-274.

Share/Bookmark Systems split over college formula funding

Gannett Capital Bureau
BATON ROUGE -- The unified front usually put forward by university officials in public discussions of college funding fell apart Tuesday.
Tension between the heads of the LSU, Southern and University of Louisiana systems and Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell over the way state funds are divided in a formula developed by the Board of Regents spilled out into testimony over the proposed budget that's to go into effect July 1.
The funding formula was developed at a time when university funding was growing. It shifts from primarily enrollment-based budgeting to allocating 15 percent of the funds according to performance. Included are graduation rates, course offerings that are job-oriented and research offerings.
Funding has been dropping the past four years and this year just over $1 billion is being split up. Purcell said that is roughly 65 percent of what universities should be funded.
The Southern University System is the hardest hit, with the biggest cut falling on the system's flagship campus in Baton Rouge.
System President Ronald Mason said the campus has declared a financial emergency, allowing it to make severe cuts to programs, downsize operations and lay off tenured faculty, and "you only declare a financial emergency when you run out of options."
Yet the proposed budget cuts another $4 million from the campus, he said, when the university "needs a little breathing room to dig itself out.
"We just need a little help," Mason said. "We feel like Frazier in a fight with Ali. We're in the 15th round. If we don't get a little help, we have to rely on a lucky punch. But we're still standing."
LSU System President John Lombardi also complained that "we weren't part of the process (of working up the funding schedule) as we should have been." He said he knows it's difficult for the Board of Regents to fit the funding to the formula and "we know we're going to have to work with shortages."
But the requirement to keep the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the AgCenter whole forced more cuts on other campuses.
Colleges and universities were given authority to raise tuition but in many cases, the increases were offset by reductions in state funds. All campuses combined can raise tuition a total of $87.4 million.
But the campuses that don't meet the requirements of the GRAD Act not only don't get to increase tuition up to 10 percent but lose out on a 15 percent performance bonus in the formula.
Another factor in the proposed budget is if an increase in retirement contributions imposed on university employees is not approved, campuses would be cut $110 million.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, asked "Am I hearing that the formula you helped devise isn't working? Or is it fatigue from year after year not having enough?"
Randy Moffett, president of the UL System, answered "We all know we need to support the concept of a performance formula" but it's difficult after years of an enrollment-based formula.
"We've got a declining set of revenues; therefore it's going to create tension over the distribution," Moffett said. And it's aggravated by campuses being cut more because "some things were held harmless" and not cut.
"We should have had the opportunity to sit down and discuss how we were affected," he said. "We didn't get to participate in the process."

FREE Webinar: Turnitin 30-Minute Webcast: Bridging the Gap: Coming Together Around the Common Core

30-Minute Webcast Series
Bridging the Gap: Coming Together Around the Common Core

Collaborations among secondary education and higher education can help bridge the gap of standards and expectations. Using the Common Core standards, educators of all levels can better understand the expectations for students leaving high school and entering college.
This webcast will discuss how analyzing Turnitin rubrics data can help these collaborative groups come closer together in identifying student expectations.
Register for this webcast and join a lively discussion on how to:
  • understand expectations for students entering college
  • collaborate with others to help students meet those expectations

Webcast Details
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time:  10am PT / 11am MT / 12pm CT / 1pm ET
Cost: Complimentary

Register Now

The 30-Minute Webcast Series sponsored by Turnitin is for busy educators who want to stay current with the latest trends and technologies related to preserving academic integrity, preventing plagiarism, and improving the quality of student written work. 

Turnitin is a service of iParadigms, LLC
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The Annual Honors Convocation will be held on Tuesday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m., in Lawless Memorial Chapel

The Annual Honors Convocation will be held on Tuesday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m., in Lawless Memorial Chapel. All classes are cancelled during the hour of 11:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. ALL HONOR STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND.

Cynthia M. Carter
Administrative Specialist
Office of Academic Affairs
Dillard University
504.816.4662 (ph)
504.816.4144 (fax)


Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference - Registration Now Open!

Legal Issues in Higher Education

22st Annual Legal Issues
in Higher Education Conference
October 8 -10, 2012
University of Vermont Davis Center
Please join us and learn from the nation's leading experts in Higher Education Law & Student Affairs. This conference provides the opportunity to:
  • Gain a comprehensive picture of the diverse legal issues shaping all aspects of higher education.
  • Acquire practical, hands-on methods to implement the best practices, policies, programs, and ideas.
  • Network with colleagues from across the country and take home valuable information for your institution.
Group Discount Rate Available: 3 or more colleagues from the same institution, one payment, one registration.

Early Bird Deadline: This year's early registration discount expires on July 15th. Register below now!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at or call 1-800-639-3210.
Association Sponsors: ACPA - College Student Educators International, Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA), University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA)

University of Vermont Sponsors: College of Education and Social Services, Division of Student & Campus Life, Continuing Education
Other UVM Programs of Interest:

Distinguish Yourself as a Campus Sustainability Leader

Colleges and universities are seeking knowledgeable leaders who can help them shift their practices to be more sustainable. Distinguish yourself as a leader by earning a Professional Certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership and/or three graduate credits through this week long program between June 25-29, 2012 at the University of Vermont's beautiful, award-winning green campus in the heart of the thriving city of Burlington, VT. There's no better place to learn about sustainability than Vermont.

Register Now for Professional Credit Fees: $1,713
Register Now for Academic Credit (3 College Credits for ENVS 295 and CRN 60141)

If you can't attend the on-campus program, check out the NEW ONLINE Advanced Certificate in Campus Sustainable Innovation.

UVM Logo
UVM Legal Issues in Higher Education
Contact UVM Continuing Education by phone:
800.639.3210 or 802.656.2085


CUR - ISSOTL Pre-Conference and Invitation to Present

Building on the successful meetings held prior to the ISSOTL conferences in Liverpool (2010) and Milwaukee (2011), the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) will be again be offering a pre-conference symposium at the ISSOTL 2012 conference in Hamilton, Canada.

This year’s symposium is entitled: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND CHANGE IN HIGHER EDUCATION: A SCHOLARLY DISCUSSION.  In this day-long symposium we plan to explore how undergraduate research effects change in Higher Education, and how a variety of changes in Higher Education affect undergraduate research. Posters will play key roles in this seminar.

We are interested in posters about undergraduate research and inquiry, focused on the theme and subthemes of the symposium:

  • Students as change agents
  • Undergraduate research generating transformative learning
  • The role of undergraduate research in curriculum renewal
  • The influence of technological changes on undergraduate research
  • The influence of changing student demographics on undergraduate research
  • Supporting and sustaining UR in times of times of fiscal challenge

The deadline to submit a poster for consideration is September 1, 2012. For details on specifications, please visit:

Submissions are also being accepted for the ISSOTL conference proper. We welcome proposals for papers, panels, posters and pre-conference workshops. Proposal guidelines and a link to the online submission form can be found at:  The deadline has been extended through March 25, 2012 for submissions. 

For detailed information on the 2012 event, including registration information please visit  Please note the early registration deadline is September 15, 2012.

Should you have any questions regarding this event, please contact the Seminar Convenors, Kelly McConnaughay, Council on Undergraduate Research, US and Rachel Spronken-Smith, ISSOTL, NZ,

Council on Undergraduate Research
734 15th Street NW  Suite 550
Washington, DC 20005
p: 202.783.4810
f: 202.783.4811


Dillard University Influenced by You! March & April 2012


Free Registration Online - March 25 & 26, 2012 - Impact of Environmental Disasters on Vulnerable Populations Conference at Dillard University


March 25-26, 2012
Dillard University
Professional Schools & Sciences Building
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122
Presented in Partnership with:
UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center;
Dillard University and LSU Health Sciences Center Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center
The conference aims to address the human and environmental impact of disasters,
with a focus on vulnerable populations and resultant health disparities.

Sunday, March 25, 2012
4:30 pm
Registration Opens
5:25 pm
James Lyons, PhD, Interim President, Dillard University
5:30 pm
Opening Remarks
John Ruffin, PhD, Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
5:45 pm
Special Topic
How to Handle Issues of Litigation
Duane A. Gill, PhD, Professor and Head of Sociology, Oklahoma State University
Conrad Meyer, JD, MHA, FACHE, Health Law Attorney, Law Firm of Chaffe McCall
7:00 pm
Reception, Networking
Monday, March 26, 2012
8:00 am
Registration, Continental breakfast
8:45 am
Opening and Introduction
Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, PhD, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dillard University
9:00 am
Keynote Address
Edward Overton, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Environmental Sciences, LSU School of the Coast and Environment
9:45 am
Plenary Session 1
The Impact of Environmental Disasters on Human Health and Vulnerable Populations
Moderator: Lawrence Palinkas, PhD, Professor of Social Policy and Health, University of Southern California
Panelist 1: Beverly Wright, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Director for the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Dillard University
Panelist 2: Howard Osofsky, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Louisiana State University
Panelist 3: Benjamin Springgate, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Tulane University and Director of REACH-NOLA
Panelist 4: Aubrey Miller, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Advisor to NIEHS and Study Leader of the GuLF STUDY
11:00 am
11:15 am
Plenary Session 2
Environmental Impacts of Disasters on Social Policy
Moderator/Panelist 1: Duane A. Gill, PhD, Professor and Head of Sociology, Oklahoma State University
Panelist 2: Liesel Ritchie, PhD, Assistant Director for Research, Natural Hazards Research Center, University of Colorado
Panelist 3: Anthony Ladd, PhD, MA, Professor of Sociology, Loyola University of New Orleans

12:15 pm

1:30 pm
Special Topics
Methodological Issues: How to Collect and Report Longitudinal Data
Lawrence Palinkas, PhD, PhD, Professor of Social Policy and Health, University of Southern California
Edward S. Peters DMD, ScD, Director of Epidemiology, LSU School of Public Health
Human Health Risks from Oil Leaks
Nalini Sathiakumar, MD, DrPH, Professor of Epidemiology, UAB School of Public Health
Policy Perspectives
Robert Collins, PhD, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Public Policy, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dillard University
3:00 pm
3:10 pm
Breakout Session
Socio-economic Impact of Oil Leaks
Moderator: Amy Lesen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, Dillard University
Panelist 1: Chief Albert P. Naquin, Traditional Chief of the
Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, Terrebonne Parish, LA
Panelist 2: Teresa Dardar, Tribal Council Member, Pointe-au Chien Indian Tribe, Terrebonne Parish, LA
Panelist 3: Kristina Peterson, PhD, Research Associate, UNO-CHART (University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology)
Environmental Impact of Oil Leaks
Moderator: James Diaz, MD, MPH, DrPH, Professor of Environmental/Occupational Health Sciences, LSU School of Public Health
Panelist 1: Chih-yang Hu, ScD, MSPH, Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Program, LSUHSC School of Public Health
Panelist 2: David Lirette, PhD, MS, MT, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Program, LSUHSC School of Public Health
Panelist 3: Edward Laws, Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of the Coast & Environment, Louisiana State University
4:10 pm
Break (Snacks)
4:30 pm
Synthesis: Insights, Recommendations, Next Steps
Mona Fouad, MD, MPH, Professor and Director of Division of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), University of Alabama at Birmingham
5:15 pm
Concluding Keynote
John Estrada, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
6:00 pm
Conference Adjourns

For more information, contact Dr. Yu-Mei Schoenberger at

Funding for this conference was made possible by Grant # R13MD00615901 from the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the NIH; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.