2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


Are Graduate Students Being Left Out of the SOTL Movement?

Angela Davis, Danielle Beck, Jaime Diaz, Janice Driver, Erin Hunter, Gregory Reaume - Psychology


The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) has become increasingly prominent in our universities today. Whereas faculty initiatives for SOTL have been widespread, commensurate attention to graduate student involvement has been less common. It seems imperative that graduate students, the future professoriate, must also receive SOTL training as part of their broader pedagogical training. In order to examine perceptions about teaching training, graduate students (n=85) and faculty (n=23) in the Psychology department completed an online survey.

While there was not a significant difference between the ratings of faculty and graduate students for how important they think teaching is to the overall mission of a research university, graduate students did not perceive teaching to be as important to the mission of UW as the faculty did (p < .01). The majority of the faculty also said they if given the opportunity they would use their grants to forego their teaching responsibilities. Furthermore, although faculty perceived that they were quite supportive of their graduate students’ teaching training, graduate students reported that faculty were not supportive (20%) or in fact were discouraging (20%) of their pursuing teaching training vis a vis research training. These data show the subtle yet sharp double message that graduate students seem to be receiving concerning teaching.

While SOTL issues may be embraced by certain faculty, SOTL does not seem to be important enough to be incorporated into graduate student professional training both in theory and in practice. Since the majority of the graduate students sampled desired a certificated teaching program and more direct mentorship from faculty, the present study suggests that a more comprehensive SOTL program is necessary to ensure that our graduate students will assume leadership roles in forging the new Academy.




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