The best prof meetings for teaching?

SMeissne at AOL.COM SMeissne at AOL.COM
Wed Feb 24 21:06:29 EST 1999


In a message dated 99-02-24 19:53:24 EST, David Hershey wrote:

<< 
 A major problem with most of the plant research societies such as ASPP
 is that they view teaching scholarship as a second-rate activity. They
 will let you present a teaching poster at their meeting but they won't
 allow you to publish it in their refereed journal.
  >>


If I were a graduate student who wished to gain "teaching" exposure, I would 
"strong arm" my major professor into letting me do some guest lectures in
courses
in the department.  Then I'd find a topic that could be worked up into a
significant
summary and I'd present it.  Then I'd see if I could present it at some of the
conferences that were mentioned.  And then I'd see if it would make a good 
review article.  If I recall correctly, the American Journal of Botany,
published by the Botanical Society of America, does from time to time publish
articles of a historical nature on a specific topic.  I recall one that
covered the work of Hofmeister for example.  Of course, if the topic just
happened to also make a 
really good introductory chapter for your thesis.... well, that is just
getting it to 
work twice for you right?  

By the way.  At Cornell University there are Graduate Student Teaching
Assistant
Development workshops.  These are designed and run by graduate students on a
Saturday for a full day.  Topics include such things as video recording of
each 
others teaching and then viewing and analyzing each other.  Workshops on 
lecturing, office hours, grading, using modern media, etc, etc.  The
university 
puts in a killer lunch for free.  When I did this I thought it was both
wonderful and 
terrible.  Wonderful since these were fellow grad students and we were all
being 
lost together.  Terrible, because the university was getting around having to
give 
teaching training to its teaching assistants because we were volunteering to
do it
for free!  Its the old balance of professionalism I guess.  Still this sort of
effort is
possible by a graduate student and it shows that there is interest in
teaching.  

On a related topic.  Why is it that the process of getting a PhD involves a
review of research ability but no review of teaching ability?  Would it be
possible, just for those who want it, to have the faculty on a PhD committee
also meet to discuss the teaching skills and efforts of a PhD candidate?  I
suspose it might call for a whole new type of degree, since it is an
additional requirement.  But I always wondered why in this process of training
academics this aspect is not evaluated in a formal sense just like the
coursework and the research.  Any thoughts?

my 2 cents,

Scott T. Meissner
student of beets and other properly vulgar betans!

smeissne at aol.com

Aure Entuluva!



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