Readers of Making Sense of the College Curriculum expecting a traditional academic publication full of numeric and related data will likely be disappointed with this volume, which is based on stories rather than numbers. The contributors include over 185 faculty members from eleven colleges and universities, representing all sectors of higher education, who share personal, humorous, powerful, and poignant stories about their experiences in a life that is more a calling than a profession. Collectively, these accounts help to answer the question of why developing a coherent undergraduate curriculum is so vexing to colleges and universities. Their stories also belie the public’s and policymakers’ belief that faculty members care more about their scholarship and research than their students and work far less than most people.
Preface: An Exercise in Sense Making Section I: Defining the Task Introduction: It's a Riddle After All Faculty Voice: Hard Conversations
Section II: Passions 1 I Am a Bridge Faculty Voice: Taking Ownership 2 Why We Do What We Do Faculty Voice: Hidden among the Artifacts Faculty Voice: An Experiment in Experiential Learning
Section III: Adaptations 3 Flying Solo Faculty Voice: Practice Makes Perfect Faculty Voice: Being a Doula 4 Change Is All About Us Faculty Voice: Nope, Too Busy 5 Losses and the Calculus of Subtraction Faculty Voice: Look, It’s a Course…It’s a Major…No, It’s SUPERMAJOR!
Section IV: Frustrations
6 The Cost Conundrum Faculty Voice: Forty Years in the Desert Faculty Voice: Touching the Third Rail 7 Barriers Faculty Voice: Stepping into the Fray
Section V: Conclusions 8 The Road Not Traveled
ROBERT ZEMSKY currently serves as the chair of the Learning Alliance and was a member of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on The Future of Higher Education. He is the author of several books, including Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise (Rutgers University Press).
GREGORY R. WEGNER is the director of program development at the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
ANN J. DUFFIELD is a strategic planning and communications consultant to colleges and universities and serves on the board of trustees of The Sage Colleges in Troy and Albany, New York.
“Interviews of nearly 180 faculty at a diverse range of colleges and universities demonstrate an inspiring commitment to teaching and to doing whatever it takes to improve student learning. Yet this commitment has not translated into the kind of curricular reform our colleges and our society need if higher education is to be more accessible and effective. The authors, in candidly recounting faculty stories of frustrating failure as well as joyful success, provide important new insights into the many exasperating barriers to broader curricular change; impediments which can only be overcome by a new kind of partnership among faculty, institutional decision makers, and education leaders.”
~Richard Detweiler, Ph.D, President, Great Lakes Colleges Association
“There has been an on-going national conversation about what is taught in the higher education classroom and how much it matters. Making Sense of the College Curriculum responds strongly and directly to the conversation by offering a critical assessment of what some of the most committed teachers in higher education aspire to do in modernizing the curriculum. It places balanced emphasis on matters of racial and other social differences, the influence of social media, and the existence of instructional and other technology that have shaped the contemporary challenge of higher education teaching. It also delivers a clear message to faculty that thinking in much the same way over time about pedagogy is perilous because students are coming to the classroom each semester, academic year, and decade with different interests, capacities, and expectations about what higher educational learning is all about. Hence, for dedicated instructors sensitivity, self-awareness, and preparedness for adaption must be the constants.”
~Alford A. Young, Jr., co-editor, Faculty Social Identity and the Challenges of Diversity: Reflections on Teaching in Highe