Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University


Teaching has long been an individualized and private affair within academia. Gerald Graff (2009) spoke of the default position of “courseocentrism” taken by university faculty in his 2008 Presidential Address to the Modern Language Association. The privatized classroom, he argues, is “out of step with the way the academic world works” and is damaging to students (Graff, 2009, p. 740). Courseocentrism causes students to focus on surface learning goals as a rational response to the perception that their courses are separate and distinct from one another, each with its own set of expectations, requirements, and classroom practices. In addition, faculty members forgo the opportunity to become better teachers that comes with taking “one another’s courses as reference points in [their] own” (Graff, 2009, p. 728). Weimer (2010) also recognizes the lost opportunity created by this culture of the privatized classroom, where our conversations about teaching rarely get beyond “pedagogical pleasantries.” In response, she urges faculty to take an intentional approach to “collecting colleagues.” While her suggestion provides an antidote to the courseocentrism described by Graff, its implementation relies upon faculty first becoming aware of both why and how they should make their teaching more public and then perceiving that any threats from doing so are minimal.