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Academic Leadership Journal

Abstract

Beginning a career in college or university teaching can be a terrifying exercise in trial and error. Unlike elementary and secondary school teachers, many college faculty members begin their teaching careers with little or no formal preparation in pedagogy. Despite being well-versed in the content discipline, faculty members in their first few semesters of teaching often lack access to the kind of frequent assessment and mentoring that would shorten the learning curve and enhance the experience for both instructor and student. Through the years, a number of different strategies have been proposed to foster interactions between college faculty members. Typically, mentoring of new faculty members is done as a one-to-one observation and evaluation model with a more experienced partner. A few models have incorporated multiple faculty members at differing stages of experience. These include teaching squares (Hafer, 2002), teaching triads (Belcher, 1998), and teaching circles (Martsof, 1999), each with the objective of improving the quality of teaching and learning. The expansion of these models to that of a “learning community” opens up even greater possibilities for approaching the peerreview process, while at the same time mentoring both new and experienced faculty members.

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