Moving the search for 'excellent' teaching to 'exemplary'
- Professor and researcher Thomas Carey says that pedagogy is an important factor in recognizing exemplary teaching, and that this focus should seek the examples of collaborative competition in examining how students receive high-impact outcomes in learning.
- Developing and sharing best practices in teaching, and then showcasing the best individual implementation of those practices, is the ideal way to ensure common standards of performance while allowing students the best chance at course mastery and personal development.
- Basing educator performance on development of best practices, rather than best performance among students, strengthens the institution while moving pedagogy ahead without significant financial investment or changes in departmental or institutional mission.
Carey's perspectives are well noted as a potential metric for faculty assessment and student outcomes, but on the surface, they don't seem to be an ideal fit for all areas of curriculum or performance measure. While there is a lot of value in all professors sharing best practices for education, and this may be feasible for a department or even a college, it's hard to envision that teaching styles and standards translate between the liberal arts and the applied sciences, or among social sciences and public health. Grant-making, research and student approaches are vastly different among majors, and often influence the pedagogical standard and output of any given course.
Additionally, how would this approach change expectation in tenure and promotion? If professors were sharing and judged by innovation in teaching, how does that outrank traditional assessment tools of publishing or outreach? Given that many institutions are searching to increase diversity and technology in teaching, outcomes based upon best practices are best viewed as a solid element of assessment, but maybe not the principal one.