Publication Date

January 2010

Abstract

Faced with the twin challenges of changing demographics and increasing demands for greater accountability and transparency, institutions of higher education are grappling with how best to meet the needs of a changing student body and how best to create a shared vision for faculty, administrators, and institutions. In a climate in which faculty accountability is ever more dependent on research and scholarship, especially as rewarded by promotion and tenure, improvement in the quality of teaching is an increasing concern. The central question, however, remains: are higher education institutions poised to address these concerns effectively?

A number of issues are challenging the landscape of faculty work in higher education, including retirement, attrition rates, and inadequate graduate preparation for teaching, among others. No longer is it business as usual; we cannot continue teaching the same way we have been—in a traditional fashion. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. They have changed radically, and we must create an environment to impact the twenty-first-century learner. Known as millennials, these students are making up the fabric of our courses as we go into the twenty-first century using diverse strategies. We must address the challenges that millennial students—older, younger, traditional, and nontraditional, well prepared and underprepared—and their teachers face in participating in a college learning environment. It is imperative that we provide a space for ongoing dialogue to discuss how best to reach and teach those whom we have a commitment to serve. We can begin such dialogue by creating quality faculty development programs and changing the culture of teaching.

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