In Their Own Words
I think it’s incredibly important to have evidence-based practices brought to bear in teaching. We bring evidence-based practices to bear in our scholarship. We bring it to bear in the way in which we do collective impact work in Newark, for example, with the way our high-impact scholars do their work. Why would we not bring it to bear within the classroom? That bringing it to bear means giving faculty a chance to understand that, to learn it, to imbibe it, if you will. That takes time. It takes a collaborative enterprise. One of the reasons we started what we call P3, the Collaboratory for Pedagogy, Professional Development and Publicly-Engaged Scholarship, is to make the point that this is a collaborative effort. What ACUE allows us to do is to say, “We’re going to collaborate. We have cohorts of faculty in the groups learning together, and we’re going to collaborate with people who have studied the best practices in education and in pedagogy.” For us, it goes right to the heart of our strategic plan. We really believe that we have an obligation and an opportunity to create student success, but you create student success not by putting it on the backs of students but by having a faculty who can talk and teach and listen and learn themselves.
One of the things I love about what ACUE, what the cohorts who’ve gone through it so far have said, is that they are learning so much. It becomes a dynamic. It’s an ever-expanding cultivation, as opposed to just saying, “Okay, I’ve taught 20 years. I have the same yellow pad with the notes I used the first time. Maybe I update a few other resources, but really, I know what I’m doing. I’m an expert, right?” It’s totally a game changer when you say, “No, actually, I really need help. I need to learn. I need to think. I need to do it both collectively with other colleagues but also with my students.”
The other thing that I was so struck by in the self-assessments the faculty did is that they came to believe that their students could succeed at a higher level than they went in believing. That’s just a phenomenal piece of data, that faculty who go through the ACUE courses themselves come to see their students as more successful, as more able to succeed. I mean, that’s precisely what we want.
I think ACUE as an investment has an enormous return on investment, if you will, for the institution. First of all, it’s an investment in our faculty and in our graduate students. That’s a very important thing by itself. We often talk about investments. At Rutgers-Newark, we talk about investments in the community in our anchor institution work. We talk about investments in student success. We also need to be thinking about investments in our core asset of our faculty. That’s what ACUE is.
ACUE Interview, Fall 2017