Citizens of the Teaching Commons: The Rise of SoTL among US Professors of the Year, 1981-2015
ABSTRACT From 1981 to 2015, the US Professors of the Year program recognized 101 college and university teachers as national winners in its annual competition for faculty who demonstrated “extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.” Their dossiers provide a window onto the leading edge of teaching and educational leadership over a critical thirty-five years when innovative faculty nationwide sought to engage a more diverse set of students, enliven the teaching repertoires of their fields, develop new media for instruction, and encourage more active learning in their classrooms and beyond. But that is not all. As the pace of pedagogical change picked up, so too did the level of engagement with colleagues both on and beyond campus on educational issues. The roster of national winners has always included authors of text-books and other materials, but as time went on, a growing number were also making their approaches to pedagogical problems public through workshops, conference presentations, and publications. Increasingly engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning, the US Professors of the Year reflect the emergence of a new view of the nature and source of teaching expertise and of what it means to be a “citizen” of the teaching commons.
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