El Colegio de Artes y Ciencias de la Universidad de Harvard publicó recientemente un informe que considero relevante para instituciones universitarias que deseen establecer un balance entre los recursos que se invierten en fomentar la investigación y los que se invierten en mejorar el proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje. Entre las recomendaciones que se mencionan están el fomentar conversatorios sobre enseñanza efectiva, crear un fondo que se utilizará para adiestramiento, congresos y talleres sobre prácticas pedagógicas efectivas y recompensar la buena enseñanza .
Incluyo el resumen de las recomendaciones debido a la pertinencia de las mismas para otras universidades.
Foster stronger collegial engagement and responsibility for effective teaching and learning.
1. FAS faculty should routinely share course materials and discuss the goals, methods, and effectiveness of instruction. Departments and divisions should institutionalize such discussions, and consider possibilities for colleagues to visit, learn from, and comment upon one another’s lectures, seminars, or research group sessions.
2. Through a “Dean’s Fund for Curricular Enrichment and Pedagogical Improvement,” FAS should support departmental speakers and workshops, Faculty-wide and divisional colloquia, and summer institutes, to develop and share pedagogical models and further collegial consideration of ways to design and enrich courses and improve major types of teaching and advising.
3. Because department chairs need enhanced resources as they work in concert with directors of undergraduate and graduate studies to improve course offerings, student mentoring, and the capacities of teachers, FAS should provide efficiently accessed information and offer multi-year grants through the Dean’s Fund.
Support pedagogical creativity and remove impediments to experimentation.
4. All members of the faculty, including those newly appointed, should have access to grants from the Dean’s Fund for course development, pedagogical experimentation, and other contributions to the enrichment of student learning. Support for the preparation of new materials plus research assistance or a month of summer salary should be available as suitable for specific projects. The results of projects, including appropriate assessments of improvements in student learning, should be shared and publicized.
5. To make available the latest research about student learning and ways to assess and improve pedagogical effectiveness, the Bok Center should offer expert consultations tailored to particular areas of learning to faculty members and departments requesting such information.
6. Faculty who experiment with new pedagogical approaches should be encouraged to go beyond online course evaluations, using additional means to assess student learning and adjust course practices.
7. FAS should make adjustments in scheduling and support to facilitate faculty-taught courses that combine presentations with discussions. Concurrently, the Graduate School and the College should explore pedagogically beneficial formats (beyond lecture courses with sections) to involve graduate students in teaching partnerships with faculty.
Regularly account for and assess all important aspects of teaching, advising, and efforts at pedagogical improvement.
8. An automated system for the annual faculty activity reports should make the submission of reports easier for individual faculty members and include opportunities for accounts of teaching goals and achievements, along with fuller information about each faculty member’s classes, advising and mentoring, work with graduate teaching fellows, and contributions to curricular development and pedagogical improvement.
9. Participation in the recently improved online system of course evaluation should be required for all faculty and students in courses above a minimum size. Departments and course heads should make creative use of the option to tailor new questions to assess what students report they have learned.
10. Working in cooperation with departments and course heads, the FAS should explore additional ways to assess student learning – including regularly asking for reactions while courses are in progress; gathering retrospective assessments from students and alumni/ae; and periodically conducting objective assessments of student gains in core competencies such as writing, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and the mastery of foreign languages.
Reward good teaching and contributions to pedagogical improvement at all career levels.
11. Annual salary reviews for tenured faculty should take teaching, advising, and efforts at pedagogical improvement fully and explicitly into account. In making yearly adjustments in consultation with department chairs, FAS deans should give major and equal weight to demonstrably strong or weak contributions in teaching and research. The reasons for adjustments should be explained in the salary letter sent annually to each faculty member.
12. Teaching records and promise should be thoroughly and consistently assessed when FAS faculty are appointed. Departments should obtain and review such evidence as: full summaries of previous courses and mentoring; characteristic examples of course syllabi or other instructional materials; and personal statements about teaching accomplishments, goals, and potential contributions to the Harvard curriculum. When possible, visits of candidates should include demonstrations of pedagogical skills important to specific areas of learning.
13. Summer orientation conferences for entering junior faculty in the humanities and social sciences should be improved and followed up during the academic year. Similar opportunities should be extended to junior faculty in engineering and the natural sciences, for whom orientations should also include sessions about managing work and encouraging learning in research groups or laboratories.
14. FAS departments should take a developmental approach to teaching by junior faculty. Junior colleagues should receive continuing advice from faculty mentors on how to develop an appropriate range of courses and teaching skills over the course of their appointments; and new course preparations should be phased in. For promotion reviews, junior faculty should prepare statements reflecting upon their accomplishments and goals in classroom instruction, advising, and pedagogical development – and senior colleagues should be prepared to offer an informed assessment of the full trajectory of the junior member’s teaching.
15. The training of PhD students should include a focus on pedagogy. The Task Force endorses the “Steps to Enhance Teaching Fellow Training” approved by the Graduate Policy Committee. These steps include improved English language screening and training; better definition of required training for new teachers as well as opportunities for advanced pedagogical training; guidelines for faculty course heads who work with teaching fellows; and the institution of automated dossiers for Harvard doctoral students to record teaching accomplishments and pedagogical training.
Make the enhanced FAS commitment to excellent teaching and enrichment of student learning visible within and beyond Harvard.
16. Make permanently visible the specific accomplishments as well as the names of winners of FAS-wide awards for excellence in teaching and advising.
17. Use regular articles in the Harvard Gazette and a new “Teaching Matters” website to better communicate pedagogical information and models of excellent teaching, advising, and pedagogical creativity to faculty, current and prospective students, and alumni/ae and friends of Harvard.
18. FAS should provide support and give credit to encourage faculty participation in professional conferences and national debates about teaching and the assessment of student learning. And FAS administrators should cooperate with their counterparts at other universities to share information about teaching, pedagogical improvements, and assessments of student learning.