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Recent Trends in Teaching

In a sense, teaching in the very earliest years of the College was "pure" in that there were no assessment tools, no faculty training, no Writing Center, no minors, no graduate studies, and no infrastructure. As Mark Hopkins said, "The best school is a log with a teacher on one end and a student on the other." That is essentially what Stockton was early on.

The support system that the College now proudly offers its teachers took years to produce and the elements of that support system have been responses to wider, cultural changes in higher education.

The writers in this section generally embrace this support though Alan Arcuri regrets what he sees as a shift from student-centered teaching to research interests and teaching that doesn't always place the student firmly "on the other end of the log."

Assessment is, of course, a fact of a teaching life these days, and Sonia Gonsalves reviews Stockton's efforts to create acceptable tools for assessing learning while providing support for new teachers with workshops and semester-long training.

Penny Dugan and Frank Cerreto focus on writing and quantitative reasoning training. Stockton was one of the earliest colleges to offer Writing Across the Curriculum and, later, Quantitative Reasoning Across the Disciplines. We can rightfully be proud of these efforts, especially because early models for both skills were minimal though faculty-wide.

Dugan and Tom Kinsella delineate the role of the disciplinary program at the college. (There are other reviews of programmatic history elsewhere in the volume.) Both see their programs as constantly changing, challenged by technology, struggling to acquire resources, and proud of their program's efforts and achievements up to the present time. The same can easily be said about the various interdisciplinary minors at the College; Linda Nelson surveys their growth and impact. The Women's Studies minor, for instance, is one of the largest and most active in the lives of women at the College.

There was, of course, almost no technological infrastructure at the start of the College. Stockton was a "node" in a larger, state network as Jim McCarthy notes in his review of the phenomenal growth of technology on campus.

Perhaps the most obvious impact Stockton has had on national higher education is with the concept of "advising as teaching."

Making each faculty a preceptor and defining that role as teaching has, in the years since 1971 when Stockton began the practice, become a national mantra for advising. Peter Hagen, who has been at the center of defining advising this way, thoroughly discusses this history and the effect we have had on the whole nation.

Finally, in the earliest days, transfer students were half of the student population, and we had arranged with all of the state's community colleges to admit anyone they sent us. The result of this agreement has, over the forty-year history, continued to provide Stockton with a generous supply of capable transfer students. As Tom Grites points out, we have been and continue to be the "most transfer-friendly institution in the state."

Inside Recent Trends in Teaching:

Cheerleader or Dreamer?—Stockton's Teaching Excellence
Alan F. Arcuri
  Assessment—Good Teaching Practice
Sonia V. Gonsalves
  The Quantitative Reasoning Across the Disciplines (QUAD) Program
Frank A. Cerreto
Planting a Program with Deep Roots and Good Growth—Writing at Stockton
Penelope Dugan
  Born (and Reborn) Within the Currents of Academia: The Shifting Literature Curriculum
Thomas Kinsella
  Changing Lives—The Interdisciplinary Minors
Linda Williamson Nelson
The Information Age at Stockton
James McCarthy
  advising @
Peter L. Hagen
  The Most Transfer-friendly Institution in the State
Thomas J. Grites

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