A Perennial Question: What Makes a Good College Teacher?

Each generation returns the same complaints: college teachers drone, college teachers lack creativity and spark, nay, they often lack even rudimentary pedagogical awareness. And since the ascendance of what William James coined the “PhD Octopus” of credentialism and narrowed specialization, far too many see their work with students as an impediment to their research. Look … Continue reading “A Perennial Question: What Makes a Good College Teacher?”


How Can Professors Inspire Students to Want to Learn?

COVID-19 has revolutionized how we think about online college teaching. Until last spring, two perspectives predominated. One argued that massively enrolled online classes presented by impressive teachers or prestigious universities would increase efficiency while preserving quality. The other worried about the quality of online classes, and that the gap between those able to afford in-person … Continue reading “How Can Professors Inspire Students to Want to Learn?”


The Better Teacher: A Professor or Another Student?

Professors, particularly at research universities, wear many hats. On the one hand, they are instructors, entrusted to pass on knowledge to their students. On the other hand, they are researchers and are expected to add to their field’s body of knowledge. As a way to help professors balance their two roles, “discussion sections” have become … Continue reading “The Better Teacher: A Professor or Another Student?”


Teacher Training and the Construction of Illiteracy

No cliché is more ubiquitous at teacher protests than signs that read, “if you can read this sign, thank a teacher.” That is, unless you disregard variations on the theme of “pay us more.” And yet, student performance on national and international tests suggest that the reading comprehension of most American students does not extend … Continue reading “Teacher Training and the Construction of Illiteracy”


Proposed Bills Could Improve Teacher Quality in the Tar Heel State

Increasing teacher pay to improve teaching quality has grabbed media attention for months. But North Carolina’s General Assembly has been trying to figure out how to get better teachers into the classroom in other ways, too. Three proposed bills have a chance to make a difference. But what makes them stand out from other education … Continue reading “Proposed Bills Could Improve Teacher Quality in the Tar Heel State”