A fourth faculty development target

Thus far in considering the what of faculty development, we have examined three of five key capacities and competencies your faculty members should possess in increasing measure, namely, self-awareness, scholarly currency, interdisciplinary engagement. Now we turn to a fourth: teaching and learning proficiency.

A higher bar

Effectiveness for biblical higher education faculty members demands a three-fold proficiency: (a) proficiency in one’s academic/professional discipline; (b) proficiency in learning and teaching principles and practices; and (c) proficiency in biblical/theological knowledge and integration (more about that in future posts). The typical beginning faculty member’s academic preparation focuses on only the first of these, proficiency in one’s academic/professional discipline.

Learning involves more than listening

In practice, too many faculty members equate listening with learning. Although they may deny that their responsibility extends merely to the transfer of information, their actual methods too often leave upon their students the burdens of learning and of acquiring and exercising the skills necessary for deep biblical and theological reflection. You must insist they do better.

From teaching to learning

No faculty member disposition is more fundamental to faculty instructional competency than the mindset shift from teaching to learning. A mature faculty member has made the fundamental shift in theory and practice from organizing content to designing learning. If you have not dialed into this transformative concept, I highly recommend you digest a copy of John Tagg and Peter Ewell’s classic, The Learning Paradigm College.

Good instruction begins at the end

Good instructional design begins at the end—including how learning will be demonstrated through the most authentic assessment means possible—and will consist of well-designed experiences by which the students may achieve deep learning. Such design will require a view of knowing that transcends low-level cognition and at least a rudimentary grasp of how the brain learns. Why not consider giving a copy of Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences or Jane Vella’s Taking Learning to Task to each faculty member who joins your team? Not only would you be providing practical help, you would be making a statement about the importance of teaching that fosters transformational learning, wouldn’t you?

Transmission or transformation?

Here is a hard truth: most of us pay lip service to transformational educational outcomes but we settle—in ourselves and our colleagues—for transmissional methods. A commitment to faculty development obligates us to do better.

Next time around, let’s consider what comprises biblical/theological knowledge and integration proficiency.


Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …

Faith groups are viewed more warmly today than in 2014, except … you guessed it

Although cultural popularity should never be the barometer of biblical faithfulness, I wonder whether the Lord is pleased with this Pew Research report that documents recently improving favorability of all religious groups—with the exception of evangelicals. Hmmm.

What should Christian’s think about Trump’s refugee policy?

Few people have thought more about the interface between biblical teaching and public policy on refugees than World Relief’s Matt Soerens. In this interview, Soerens refrains from the shrill and superficial and offers some sober and substantive perspective on the matter of refugees.