In Their Own Words
Eduardo J. Padrón
Miami Dade College
Today, higher education is confronted by enormous challenges. Our enduring charge is student learning—the cultivation of deep understanding and the capacity to apply new knowledge. But our enterprise is more complex than ever. Technology’s constant evolution, increased student diversity, and the transformation of our workforce all demand new responses.
We have not lacked for effort. We’ve expanded advising and provide supplemental instruction. We monitor predictive analytics, intervene accordingly, and redesign courses to make pathways clear and coherent. We’re focusing on the first-year experience and asking students to collaborate on projects, conduct research, and learn through civic engagement.
“If we are to meet the challenges of learning in this time of change, teaching must be central to our success.”
All of this is valuable and relevant but only part of what is required to significantly advance student success. Although the faculty of our colleges and universities possess distinguished content expertise and research acumen, too seldom have they been equipped with equivalent pedagogical skills and expertise. This is particularly relevant for our many non-tenure-track educators whose primary responsibility is to teach. If we are to meet the challenges of learning in this time of change, teaching must be central to our success.
Toward this end, it is my privilege to work with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). ACUE’s Effective Practice Framework provides higher education with a much-needed common statement of the instructional skills and knowledge that every college educator should possess. ACUE’s online Course in Effective Teaching Practices is comprehensive and steeped in pedagogical research. The ACUE Certificate in Effective College Instruction is awarded in collaboration with the American Council on Education (ACE). And its Community of Professional Practice keeps faculty informed about the latest developments in teaching and allows them to collaborate with peers nationwide.
ACUE’s work represents what few institutions could have built alone: a scalable and affordable program to make great teaching a strategic driver of student success. I serve on ACUE’s board of advisors and am inspired by the change that has been set in motion and believe that great teaching—a long-sought priority of higher education—is within our grasp.
Reprinted with Permission from Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning