Scholarly reading is a craft — one that academics are expected to figure out on our own. After all, it’s just reading. We all know how to do that, right?
Yes and no. Scholarly reading remains an obscure, self-taught process of assembling, absorbing, and strategically deploying the writing of others.
Digital technology has transformed the research process, making it faster and easier to find sources and to record and retrieve information. Like it or not, we’ve moved beyond card catalogs, stacks of annotated books and articles, and piles of 3x5 cards. What hasn’t changed, however, is the basic way we go about reading scholarly work.
About two years ago at my university, I designed a minor in the medical humanities. At its core was a class that introduced students to medical topics from the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences. When it came to designing assignments that would show how well they understood such varied concepts, I decided to go out on a pedagogical limb.
If they preferred, students could write a traditional research paper for their final project. Or they could "write" about their topic in a different way — via a 45-minute podcast, a 10-to-15-minute video, a website, or an interactive, digital essay (on a blog or a Word document) that used embedded videos, photos, and audio to help the reader understand their topics.
For me, as for many others at Cardiff University, the recent news coverage of Malcolm Anderson’s suicide has been a real blow. I did not know the accounting lecturer personally. The thing that was so shocking about reading the articles was just how familiar many of the details felt. I have heard numerous stories from colleagues who feel like they are barely holding on. People are struggling with unmanageable workloads and feel as though they are constantly failing.
As professors are consistently reminded, in a student's world of class rank, graduate school admissions and a highly competitive job market, grades rule. Given that, fairness and accuracy in the testing by which we measure student performance and assign grades is one of the foremost commandments of the professoriate.
We professors like to, well, profess. We aren’t always great at listening. Yet when we move into administration, practically every hiring profile calls for a “great listener.” And, accordingly, almost anyone who seeks a leadership post in higher education lists “strong listening skills” as one of their signature attributes.
I’m sitting in the university cafe, playing with my phone, when my graduate-student advisee appears. My heart begins pounding wildly as she weaves through the tables. She’s going to want my advice on something. Is this the moment when I’ll be revealed as a know-nothing?
Imposter syndrome is, by now, a well-known term used to describe that feeling many scholars get that we are frauds in our particular field and about to be exposed at any moment. This "syndrome" has been known to affect researchers of all ages and ranks, from graduate students to department chairs. At its mildest, impostor syndrome can entail persistent and discomforting
feelings of self-doubt. At its worst, it can cripple careers.
Emotional blackmail is not a pleasant thing to encounter, and many of us succumb to it without even realizing it at various stages in our lives. The truth is that there are many manipulative people out there, who seem to thrive on getting a one-up over someone they deem to be vulnerable and/or they feel they can take something from. As a result, emotional blackmail is something you should do your utmost to avoid. If you think you’re already in such a situation, you need to be able to recognize the signs to identify
emotional blackmail and put an end to it. Here is our guide to dealing with emotional blackmail:
After reading and hearing about the physical and mental benefits of meditation, I decided to take up the practice several years ago. This led to some discussions with colleagues at work, which eventually morphed into the idea of using mindfulness in the classroom. Mindfulness is a way to pause and reflect on the here and now. To be fully present in what is happening in the
present, without worry about the future or past. The idea is that teaching this philosophy and using activities and practices in the classroom should allow students to release tension and anxiety so they can focus on the material in the classroom. Rather than coming to my biology class lamenting over the test they just took in another class, worrying about the homework, or
making a check-list of “to dos”, the student can release that tension become present with my biology course.
Looking to incorporate some learner-centered teaching principles into your courses but aren’t sure where to begin? Here are 10 activities for building student engagement and getting students more actively involved in their learning.
This article measures gender pay gaps in Ontario’s public post-secondary education sector from 1996 to 2016 using the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Data. We find gaps widening among all faculty ranks. Men were paid on average 2.06%, 2.14%, and 5.26% more than their women colleagues for all employees, university teaching staff, and deans, respectively. We also conduct a Blinder- Oaxaca decomposition to measure the source of gendered salary differentials. Pay gaps persist during this time period despite controlling for the literature’s most common explanations, including the “pipeline effect.” Our results additionally
imply that women’s years of experience in academia do not mitigate the observed pay gaps. Suggestions for future research include increasing the scope of our study to factor in finer details such as labour productivity.
Internationalization continues to be a priority within many Canadian universities. While it is imperative to attend to the ethical dilemmas that accompany the intensification of internationalization, different ethical frameworks operate according to different orientating assumptions. In this paper, we seek to pluralize and deepen conversations about the ethics of internationalization
by illustrating how three global ethics approaches address questions of international student mobility, study and service abroad, and internationalizing the curriculum. We conclude by emphasizing the need for both scholars and practitioners to engage in multi-voiced, critically-informed analyses, and dissensual conversations about complex ethical dilemmas related to internationalization.
The mental health of Canadian university students is fairly well researched, but there is relatively little evidence concerning the mental health of Canadian university student-athletes. Recent research in the United States and Canada has suggested that mental health (e.g., anxiety and depression) differs between student-athletes and student non-athletes. However, the results are
ambivalent as to whether student-athletes experience more or less psychological distress than their non-athlete peers. To address this gap, the purpose of the current study was to measure the levels of psychological distress in a national sample of 284 university student-athletes. Each athlete completed the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6; Kessler et al., 2002) via a secure online platform. The average score on the K6 for student-athletes was 8.2 out of 24; 19.8% of the sample surpassed the cut-off for assessing the prevalence of severe mental illness. A regression analysis found that gender, starting status,
and scholarship status significantly predicted levels of psychological distress. Females, non-starters, and student-athletes without a scholarship were associated with increases in K6 scores.
The transition from high school to post-secondary education presents challenges for students. Many variables have been identified as significant predictors of student achievement. Resiliency, defined as the ability to overcome challenges and adversity, may be particularly relevant during the adjustment to post-secondary education. This study assesses whether resiliency incrementally predicts student success after controlling for additional predictors. Participants were 277 undergraduate students who completed self-reports of academic skills, resiliency, personality variables, emotional intelligence (EI), and perfectionism. Students’ year-end GPA was collected from the university registrar. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that resiliency, measured by sense of mastery, negatively predicted GPA after controlling for other predictors. The sense of mastery facet of self-efficacy positively predicted GPA; however, the adaptability facet was a significant negative predictor of GPA.
Findings suggest that self-efficacy is a salient predictor of academic success, and that strong academic skills may serve as a protective factor for poor adaptability.
Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) have been the most consistently administered tool, and they are still extensively used in higher education institutions to assess teaching effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to explore how SET are used by administrators in the teaching evaluation process at a large, research-intensive Canadian university. A basic qualitative
research design was used in this project, and semi-structured interviews were used to obtain administrators’ experiences. The research question that guided this study was: How are SET (and other tools) used in the evaluation of teaching at this university? Findings showed that although participants mostly utilized a couple of SET statements as indicators of effective teaching,
they were certainly aware of the intrinsic issues concerning these tools, and that they are continually seeking to obtain more evidence if SET results are below their benchmarks.
Understanding personal factors that contribute to university student satisfaction with life is important in order to determine how we can better prepare students for the transition to post-secondary education and support them during this transition. This study examined predictors of university student satisfaction with life, academic self-efficacy, and self-reported academic achievement
in their first year of university. First-year students (n = 66) completed selfreport measures of academic achievement, university well-being, satisfaction with life, personality, and mental health. A linear regression analysis approach was applied to the data. Results indicated that academic satisfaction and school connectedness predicted satisfaction with life but that academic
self-efficacy and college gratitude did not, conscientiousness predicted academic self-efficacy, college well-being predicted self-reported achievement, and anxiety predicted achievement but depression did not. This study highlights the importance of understanding the personal factors that influence well-being and achievement during the transition to university.
In this paper we utilize interview data to explore the workings of a college–community partnership program that delivers tuition-free, for-credit courses to low-income adult students in neighbourhood-based settings. Addressing the interplay of individual and structural barriers on the educational readiness of students, our findings explore how the program builds participants’
confidence and self-belief, and how the neighbourhood-based delivery model encourages their engagement with post-secondary education (PSE). We find that the value of embedding PSE capacity and resources in low-income communities lies not only in its potential to engage adult learners, but also in how it nurtures a greater sense of community integration and social inclusion. We
conclude by suggesting that our study provides a useful foundation for institutions elsewhere aiming to recalibrate and extend their community outreach strategies when seeking to promote post-secondary access and engagement for low-income populations.
Let’s start by acknowledging the truth: Course evaluations are incredibly biased, and aren’t an accurate measure of an instructor’s
effectiveness in the classroom. Too often, students’ perceptions of your appearance, demeanor, or pedigree prevent them from writing a fair and relevant review of your actual teaching. Yet despite dozens of studies demonstrating their unreliability, course evaluations continue to be used in hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions by most colleges and universities.
I’ve sat on the Curriculum Committee at two different higher education institutions. I’ve also participated in college assessment committees and accreditation committees at both the school level and institutional level. I’ve designed courses and entire programs from scratch and have revised courses and programs to meet either accreditation or institutional needs. One activity all these endeavors has in common is the development or re-development of meaningful and measurable outcomes.
Unfortunately, what I’ve discovered is that most faculty are not well-versed in curriculum design, and therefore unable to have the forethought to consider what they want their learners to know and be able to do upon completion of their course or the program as a whole. Outcomes, when considered, become like the paper tail in the game pin the tail on the donkey. They are an afterthought, and one that is attached blindly to a course or program. When working with faculty on their course or program development, I utilize the practice of backwards design in which you start with the end in mind. Outcomes are the
end we have in mind.
What messages do our students receive from their parents, their high school teachers, their older peers, and siblings before they enter college? When I ask my first-year students the answers are, “Now you are on your own,” or “No one will help you when you are in college!” and “You are responsible for your own work.”
Notice something here? All these messages focus on the individual’s sole responsibility to succeed in college without the help of others. You are independent now.
Background/Context: With a growing body of evidence to support the assertion that teacher quality is vital to producing better student outcomes, policymakers continue to seek solutions to attract and retain the best educators. Performance based pay is a reform that has become popular in K–12 education over the last decade. This strategy potentially produces positive impacts on student achievement in two ways: better alignment of financial incentives with desired outcomes and improved the composition of the teacher workforce. While evaluations have primarily focused on the former result, there is little research on whether the
longer term implementation of these polices can attract more effective teachers.