General Teaching/Learning Guidelines
Introduction. The brief statement which follows is intended to provide some guidelines for the faculty member (all members of the university’s academic teaching staff) with regard to the teaching/learning process. We hope that the guidelines will be especially useful to members of the faculty who have just entered the profession; although more experienced teachers may also reflect on these guidelines.
The guidelines are offered in the form of advice and counsel; they are not so comprehensive as to cover every possible eventuality in the teaching/learning experience. There would be other equally good ways of handling some of the circumstances mentioned here. These guidelines are mainly a reminder of some of the principal aspects of the teaching/learning process which should be observed by the university teacher.
Course Organization. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to organize class material as efficiently and effectively as possible at the beginning of each term of instruction. Course objectives should be made clear at the first session. The teacher should discuss such matters as required readings; the approximate number of tests; the basis for the final grade with regard to the value to be placed on class recitation, major tests, minor tests, research papers, etc. At this time the students should be informed if the course is not adequately described in the General Catalog, the Graduate Catalog, or publications of the various colleges and departments.
Conducting the Course. The faculty member should set an example for students in being faithful in attendance and punctual in starting and ending classes. Students should be informed of all planned absences as early as possible. When a faculty member must be away from class to attend a conference or deal with other professional matters, he/she should arrange for a colleague to substitute for him/her. In an emergency, the faculty member should have the class notified through the agency of the departmental office that he/she is compelled to be absent.
In presenting course content, the faculty member should endeavor at all times to adhere to his/her subject; the classroom should not be used as a theater for expression of personal views not germane to the course. The faculty member should take care that the tests and all other devices for student evaluation are appropriate instruments for measuring course content. The faculty member should return all tests as soon as possible and discuss them with the students so that the test remains an educational instrument; thus students can learn from testing as well as from other class activities.
Atmosphere for Teaching and Learning. It is very important that the faculty member create from the beginning, and preserve throughout the course, an atmosphere conducive to learning. Both teacher and student should feel that they have come together in the common cause of the pursuit of learning. The faculty member must be continually sensitive to students’ needs, desires, and expectations and should exercise the kinds of judgments which demonstrate this kind of sensitivity. It is in this atmosphere of friendly and serious scholarship that the cause of learning can be most appropriately advanced.
Teaching Expertise. The faculty member should strive not only to maintain minimum competency but to surpass this level by constant inquiry into contemporary trends, prospects and research. Faculty members who supervise graduate teaching assistants should take whatever measures may be necessary to ensure an appropriate level of competency in the classroom. Departments should not neglect to give students of all educational levels the privilege of instruction by teachers of all professional ranks.
Academic Advising and Mentoring
Introduction: Faculty members advise and mentor students as an important component of their scholarship in teaching and learning. By serving as academic advisors and mentors, faculty provide effective guidance so that students can maximize their educational opportunities and make critical decisions regarding education, career, and life goals. Faculty mentor students to help them become
responsible citizens of their profession and the global community. Successful academic advising depends on the ability of the advisor and advisee to recognize the nature of the academic advising process, address specific components of academic advising, and together be responsible in the advising process.
The Components of Advising: Academic advising has three components: curriculum (what advising deals with), pedagogy (how advising does what it does), and student learning outcomes (the result of academic advising). The curriculum of advising ranges from the ideals of higher education, the meaning,
value, and interrelationship of the institution’s curriculum and co-curriculum, the selection of degree plans and courses to the pragmatics of enrollment. Academic advising, as a teaching and learning activity, requires a pedagogy that incorporates the facilitation and assessment of advising interactions and is
characterized by mutual respect, trust, and ethical behavior. The student learning outcomes of academic advising are guided by an institution’s mission, goals, curriculum and co-curriculum. These outcomes define what a student will demonstrate, know, value, and do as a result of participating in academic advising. (Link to UT, Knoxville’s undergraduate advising learning outcomes https://advising.utk.edu/for-advisors/purpose-2/).
The Organization of Advising: High quality advising of undergraduate students is widely recognized as essential for student success, retention, and timely progress toward a degree. Undergraduate students at UTK may have several points-of- access to academic advising opportunities, including professional advisors, college advising center staff, and department faculty advisors. It is certain, however, that nearly every undergraduate student seeks (whether formally or informally) some kind of academic advice from faculty members during her or his academic career. (Undergraduate advising policy link to UG Catalog https://catalog.utk.edu/content.php?catoid=26&navoid=3383#acad_advi_univ_tenn). High quality advising and mentoring of graduate students is equally important. The relationship between a research mentor and a graduate student is different in many ways from that between a faculty advisor and his or her undergraduate advisee; nevertheless, mentoring and advising graduate students are critically important because of the central role that graduate students research mentors play in the students’ professional development. (Graduate advising link to Graduate Catalog https://catalog.utk.edu/content.php?catoid=25&navoid=3183). Specific faculty advisor/mentor roles, responsibilities and workloads are determined by the individual academic department or college.