Dr. Robert J. Thompson, of Duke University’s department of Psychology and Neuroscience, is starting Indiana University’s SOTL events for the 2010 – 2011 year.  The title of Dr. Thompson’s talk is Reframing Assessment: Teaching as an Iterative Process of Inquiry. Below is the description of the talk, set to be delivered Friday September 17th at noon in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Dogwood Room.  Interested parties should register here.

“The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has increased our understanding of the learning process and developed promising pedagogical approaches and classroom practices.  Because of those efforts, it is now possible for research universities to embrace a culture of experimentation and evidence when it comes to improving undergraduate education. As members of the teaching and learning community, we must continue to build upon teaching as a process of inquiry, reframe assessment for improvement rather than accountability; and continuously engage in systematic, iterative processes to improve the quality of teaching and learning.  That is, we need to commit ourselves to the self-evaluative and self-correcting processes common to all scholarship; a process that has also become a cornerstone of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Insights and evidence of promising approaches to teaching as inquiry are presented from the Teagle and Spencer Foundations project, “Systematic Improvement of Undergraduate Education at Research Universities.”  Led by Robert J. Thompson, participating faculty members at 13 major research universities, including Indiana University, are focusing on teaching and learning initiatives that develop the core intellectual skills of a liberal education: writing and critical thinking. Thompson will discuss the work being produced over a three-year period and how all 13 universities are developing initiatives that specify student learning outcomes, evaluate those outcomes and then use the results to revise and improve educational practices.”