Open any book on university teaching and you are sure to find thorough discussion of in-class techniques to engage and motivate students, to place learning squarely in their hands, and to get them collaborating with one another. Now look for the section on how to negotiate your courseload, market your under-enrolled elective, build up a largely stable repertoire of courses, or network in a new community to find industry folks and others who can help you with materials for and guest talks in your course. Chances are you won’t find that section because too many of our teaching materials focus on how to engage students in learning inside the classroom. That’s a noble cause, but new professors in R1 institutions also need to know how to work on their teaching outside the classroom in ways that permit excellence across research, service, and teaching. And I’m not talking balance: I’m talking how to design courses and work with others in ways that help new professors provide their students with invaluable learning experiences while not robbing their own time bank.
Roth Smith (fantastic Moody School of Communications doctoral student) and I spent the spring and summer reviewing the literature and online materials for university teaching. We found some great books (my personal favorite: Therese Huston’s Teaching What You Don’t Know; hey, you know you’ve been there!) and we’ve put together lists to cover all the things that we could not find elsewhere (e.g., “35 Ways to Market Your Low-Enrollment Class,” “The Flip Side of Teaching Lore,” “Tips for Creating Fun Informative Syllabi that Respect Your Time”). We’re offering the course for the first time this fall (hmmm, enrollment is low despite our efforts, including a little video we sent out, so some tweaking due on that marketing list) and working with Molly Hatcher and Josh Walker at the FIC to really re-think the 398T experience (and maybe write our own book in a couple of years). We’re immensely grateful for this opportunity and for Molly and Josh’s help, and we have our fingers crossed that this first offering paves the way for good learning about how to teach doctoral students to teach.