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Editor's Statement

We are pleased to introduce the first issue of Issues in Teaching and Learning, an on-line journal based at Rhode Island College, supported by the Faculty Development Fund. The idea for the journal sprang from many sources. First, my interest in teaching and learning springs from questions about how faculty make sense out of the what they do in the classroom and how they understand how it works. I have attended many faculty development seminars and have actually presented quite a few as well as director of faculty projects with the national office of Campus Compact prior to coming to RIC. I have also served as a reader of many applications for awards for teaching excellence. These experiences have made me aware of a dialogue about teaching and learning, much of it anecdotal, where faculty reflect on the practice of teaching and wonder aloud why some things work with some classes some of the time. After paying considerable attention to the details of teaching technique, I am more convinced than ever that good teaching is a right- and left-brained activity and that it combines, in its execution, both spheres of our brains and in all parts of our beings.

Another source of inspiration can be directly traced to the work of the Carnegie Academy for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (located at web address Outside Linkhttp://www.carnegiefoundation.org/CASTL). This program supports faculty scholarship on teaching and learning, examining what the disciplines have to teach each other about teaching. It seeks to make this scholarship public and to bring together the best minds of the professoriate to investigate teaching and learning in the twenty-first century. Many voices have been raised suggesting that the lecture is dead, that the greatest change in higher education in the next decade will be in the college classroom as new techniques, new paradigms and new instructional structures emerge. Barr and Tagg (1995) argue we are moving from faculty-centered, input-driven, and lecture-based paradigm to a model where learners are the focus, where faculty design learning environments, and where the measure of success is the quality of the existing students, not the SAT score of the entering class. This claim can itself be the subject of constructive debate and dialogue. In this journal, we hope to make these conversations about teaching and learning public and productive. The challenge here, of course, is to break through or at least peer over disciplinary walls and ways of knowing and to create language that makes us understandable to each. We want to make this journal a truly inter-disciplinary one.

Myriad issues face higher education and the way we do business. These include pedagogy, a changing student body, technology and its use in the academy, the relationship and role of outreach and community work in higher education, definitions about what it means to be an educated person in the twenty-first century, the development of assessment measures, student retention and success, and many others. The first issue of our journal takes on these issues.

Our first issue includes articles on pedagogy including working with students as co-researchers (Clark, Gurka and Middleton), on teaching using the city as classroom (Corey and Motte), and using technology in the classroom (Church). Two articles examine ethical, legal, and quasi-legal issues in the classroom and beyond address civil liberties on the college campus (Weisman) and the competing perspectives of student and faculty understandings of plagiarism (Brennan). Research using a student success scale to predict factors related to student retention is reported by Joan Rollins and her colleagues. In another research-based article, a narrative approach to investigate program effectiveness, Meg Carroll examines the training of students to serve as tutors in a Writing Center. This issue also includes an article by doctoral candidate Elizabeth Dalton who reviews assistive technology's role in supporting persons with disabilities. Carolyn Fleuhr-Lobban provides a review of changes in General Education and reports on student assessment of learning outcomes from the revised curriculum. Finally, we publish a version of Marjorie Roemer's Maixner Teaching Excellence lecture on writing cultures, an address in which she raises important questions about inter-disciplinary work in teaching writing. Faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students have contributed to our first issue and we hope that this practice continues.

We are eager to include formats and styles of writing and presentation that are not typically seen in refereed publications. We would entertain manuscripts that bring together a variety of faculty voices and perspectives. We are interested in points of debate, and in creative works. If you have any questions about a prospective submission, please email the editors or any member of the Editorial Board. If you would like to serve on the editorial board or review manuscripts, please contact us. If you would like to serve as editor or propose a special issue, please send along an email to senos@ric.edu or rdesimone@ric.edu. Comments about the articles can be sent directly to the authors via their email addresses provided with each article.

We would like to extend our appreciation to Karen Rubino and Jeff Drury, our technical advisors and web managers, who transferred the journal contents from paper to electronic form and are responsible for the journal's design. My personal thanks to the members of the Editorial Board who have provided direction, support, expert guidance, and inspiration in moving this idea from conception to production. Finally, I am delighted to announce that editorial board member Randy DeSimone, Associate Professor of Management and Technology, will join me as co-editor for our second issue. His wise counsel, leadership, and strategic thinking about using this journal to create an intellectually exciting teaching and learning community have been invaluable.

Sandra Enos
Associate Professor of Sociology
September 2002

Barr, Robert B. and John Tagg (1995). "From Teaching to Learning--A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education." Change 27(6):12-25.

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Page last updated: September 27, 2011