Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

What Works: Considering Pedagogies that Serve to Strengthen Student Learning


  • take the scientific approach to considering curricular matters: asking questions, gathering data, experimenting with possible approaches/solutions, assessing what works
  • give responsibility for learning to the student
  • are role models for students, willing to learn, to take risks, open to new ideas
  • maintain a "slot for crazy ideas" in their agenda for the future
  • inform and engage colleagues in exploring, implementing and assessing pedagogies that work.


  • contains a feedback loop of setting goals for student learning, choosing pedagogies appropriate for those goals, and assessing whether and how it all works
  • incorporates promising practices from the work of pedagogical pioneers
  • is grounded in research, reflecting solid understanding of how people learn and of the efficacy of specific pedagogies relative to particular learning styles
  • is designed to promote life-long learning, focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving, communication (writing, speaking, electronic) skills
  • is infused with topics relevant to the current and future lives of students
  • brings contemporary science and technology into the learning environment
  • demonstrates intentional and communal efforts to ensure that the goals of the department/program are being met in the sequence of courses offered.


  • provides institutional support for regular, formal conversations about pedagogies in the service of learning
  • provides institutional support for faculty to become acquainted and comfortable with emerging pedagogies
  • knows the pedagogical pioneers and early-adapters in its own faculty, spotlights their efforts
  • establishes an office, with campus-wide credibility, for the assessment of learning and the evaluation of pedagogical approaches
  • embraces a broad definition of scholarship in the evaluation, review and tenure process
  • supports targeted retirement initiatives
  • encourages pedagogical experiments by discounting student evaluations on pilot efforts.


  • are flexible enough to support and adapt to multiple pedagogies and learning styles
  • foster sustainable learning communities
  • are fully mediated and interactive (wireless, chairs/tables on wheels)
  • have ubiquitous opportunities for writing, for collaborating, for connecting to and through technologies
  • send a message about the efficacy of active, discovery-based learning, and about the relationship of the quality of space and the quality of learning.