Introduction To The Sixth Volume
ITL is Back!
Paul Khalil Saucier and Joseph Zornado
We are happy to post Issues in Teaching and Learning Volume 6 after a three year hiatus. ITL, published under the auspices of Rhode Island College, is an e-journal that seeks to foster and deepen pedagogical dialogue and by extension improve the teaching and learning process among Rhode Island College faculty and others. ITL is inter-disciplinary in that it knows no disciplinary boundaries. All members of the RIC community may meet and engage in order to enter into conversations about teaching and learning in higher education.
Issues in Teaching and Learning is supported by the Faculty Development Fund, features articles by RIC faculty and staff examining issues and innovations in teaching and learning on campus. The mission of the journal is to create and deepen dialogue among the faculty and others about teaching and learning. We encourage manuscripts that raise issues, present innovations, challenge "common sense," take stands on controversies, and engage conversation among the readers. Articles should be anchored in existing literature and explicitly linked to the topics of teaching and learning. We are also interested in submissions that take advantage of electronic media linking the journal with faculty web pages, on-line course materials, and other files.
In the fall of 2002 the first edition of Issues in Teaching and Learning Volume 1 was posted, followed by four volumes, the last of which was posted in 2006. ITL was revived, with much enthusiasm, in the summer of 2009 partly as a result of the college's efforts to establish a Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, of which ITL would be a central part. Throughout the summer and early fall volume six of ITL began to take shape. It's a hybrid issue of sorts, collecting together work that was due for publication long ago, along with three new articles and a report on the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. In spite of this, however, certain themes consistently emerge in these articles.
Of the four contributions, two of the essays deal explicitly with how obstacles of class constrain and shape the teaching learning process, while the other two essays deal with graduate training in the school of psychology which underscore the importance of community building for professional development, for effective teaching and successful learning outcomes.
In her essay "The Spectre of Class: Educating and Advising for Self-Efficacy" Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur discusses the importance of building student self-efficacy. However, as Arthur points out, creating an environment where students believe in their capabilities to learn and perform at a particular level is deeply influenced by one's class background. As Arthur states, "These students have grown up in a culture that values individualism and places responsibility for success and blame for failure squarely on the shoulders of each person." In conversation with Arthur's essay is Mary Ball Howkins essay entitled "Freshman College Courses as Class/Cultural Negotiation." While Arthur speaks more generally about creating self-efficacy, Ball Howkins offers her experience with a particular classroom exercise intent on "setting students on a path to greater confidence in the knowledge and skills that they bring with them to classroom dialogue, and potentially open them to significant, in-depth learning." The point of the exercise, according to Ball Howkins, "is to support students via a valuing of all students' class and cultural values, support them by not dragging them into academic protocol by hook or by crook." In short, both Arthur and Ball Howkins offer insight in how to maneuver around and transcend the hidden curriculum.
Both of the shorter essays consider graduate training in the shifting landscape of school psychology. Elizabeth Gibbons Holtzman and Andrew Snyder's essay "Educating Leaders in a Culture of Change: Harnessing the Power of Community Partnerships" asks the questions, how do we lessen the disconnect between college teaching and school practice. In "Classroom Practices within the School Psychology Graduate Training Program: Assessing Interns' Competencies" by Shannon E. Dowd-Eagle, John W. Eagle, and Elizabeth Gibbons Holtzman underscores the importance of gathering quantifiable data to support claims of pedagogical effectiveness. Both essays gesture towards creating a dialogical relationship with clients and practitioners as well as between the college, a local school district, and community agency.
Finally, we have also made available the complete text of the Davis Grant Proposal which, along with the brief introduction that accompanies it, offers an history of events which have resulted in the creation of the first Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at Rhode Island College.
We hope the work in this issue suggest ways to strengthen and inform pedagogical practices. We invite discussion and further contributions along the same lines. We are interested in points of debate and creative works. In doing so, we would like to call attention to our new section for all forthcoming issues of ITL where we will feature a poem, book, essay, or film that has been particularly useful in the classroom. This we want you to share with your colleagues and all ITL readers. This section can include new works or newly rediscovered older works. We are eager to include short and long essays. Again, ITL is inter-disciplinary and accepts essays from all disciplines. Individual and group submissions are also welcomed. If you have any questions about prospective submissions please email the co-editors J. Zornado (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paul Khalil Saucier (email@example.com). We invite your input and participation in our collaborative venture.
In the end, we are honored to have served as co-editors of the sixth volume of ITL and look forward to a seventh volume in the coming months. Thanks to all authors for their submissions and board members who provided wise counsel and important insights, thus making the posting of ITL Volume 6 a success.