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ERIC Number: EJ803347
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
The Spellings Commission and the Case for Professionalizing College Teaching
Brint, Steven
Academe, v94 n3 p21-24 May-Jun 2008
Today, Americans face a challenge to the organization of higher education that, however it is resolved, will transform the enterprise. That challenge goes under the name "learning outcomes," or sometimes "accountability." It is a challenge brought largely by those outside higher education and is based on criticisms of the performance of college and university instructors in the face of heightened public expectations. One resolution to the challenge may be the adoption of standardized testing for learning outcomes; another may be the establishment of greater professionalism in college teaching. In this article, the author suggests taking steps to professionalize college teaching that can improve the quality of teaching while leaving intact three essential features of higher-level teaching and learning: (1) the centrality of discipline-based knowledge systems; (2) the plurality of approaches that contribute to the formation of well-educated adults; and (3) the transformative potential of the college teacher who joins reason to creative insight. Taking the initiative to enforce standards of professionalism will put the faculty itself, rather than external regulators, in charge of accountability in higher education. Although bringing greater professionalism to college teaching will not be easy, the future of higher education may ride on the willingness to make the effort.
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001