Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to teach effectively: Professor and students collaborate on edited book

A Randolph College professor and her students have helped produce a new book about successful teaching and learning in higher education.

Evidence-Based Teaching for Higher Education was co-edited by Beth Schwartz, the Catherine E. and William E. Thoresen professor of psychology and assistant dean of the College. Carl Coffey ’11, Alexis Mandarakas ’11, and Jerry Wells ’12 helped in the early stages of planning and editing the volume while participating in the College’s Summer Research Program.

Published by the American Psychological Association, the book explains research-backed techniques for effective teaching. It also guides readers in ways of incorporating those solutions into classrooms. It covers topics such as student-teacher rapport, technology use in college classrooms, and how students should study.

“A great deal of scholarship of teaching and learning is out there, dispersed among a variety of journals in different fields. However, no concise summary existed about that research that would allow those in the classroom to incorporate those findings,” Schwartz explained. “This edited volume includes chapters from experts in the field who have provided this type of summary.”

Schwartz edited the volume with Regan A.R. Gurung, a professor at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. The Randolph students who worked on the project identified authors to invite to write chapters for the book and also helped review the first drafts the authors submitted.

Schwartz regularly collaborates with students on publication projects. In February, the book Teaching Ethically: Challenges and Opportunities included a chapter that she and Wells co-wrote with Holly Tatum, another Randolph psychology professor, recently published a book. During the Summer Research Program this year, Megan Hageman ’13 will continue planning a book focused on evidence-based advice for succeeding as a college student.