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Course Syllabus

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University Studies 390A (Spring 2011): Course Syllabus

Course Information

Time: Mondays, 3:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Location: 1030 AIRB
Course Site:
Instructor: Chris O’Neal
Phone: (949) 824-6307
Office Hours: By appointment

Course Overview

In 390A you will begin to master alternative teaching strategies and learn about why they can improve student learning. We will read some of the literature on learning and Social Constructivist epistemology, and put this theory into actual classroom practice. You will master the basics of outcome-driven course design and construct a syllabus for a course you may teach sometime in the future. Additionally, you will begin to develop an understanding of higher education as your future employer, and begin to construct a set of documents that you will use in a future job search. *Pedagogical Fellows will present a workshop (in teams) to other pedagogical fellows in preparation for their TA training duties.

US 390A is also where you will begin to build a learning community—a group of like-minded future faculty who have come together to not only learn more about teaching, but to celebrate it. This community is meant to provide you with support for both learning and the stress of graduate school. Participation will be our watchword in this course. “Participation” means not just that you ask questions, work in groups, and engage in activities, but that you put your heart and soul into your own development for the sake of the undergraduates and your fellow TAs. You will get as much out of your experience in this course as you put into it.

Note, this syllabus, and the attached calendar, are subject to change at any point in the course.

Required Text:

Erikson, LaSere, Bette, Peters, Calvin B., & Strommer, Diane Weltner. Teaching First Year College Students. (Revised & Expanded Edition of Teaching College Freshmen.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. This text is available on Amazon for ~$34. It is available at for considerably less, but please allow for up to two weeks shipping time from

Course Objectives:

When you have completed this course, you should be able to:
• …apply what you have learned from the Social Constructivist literature, and through discussion, to the development of teaching strategies and methods you can use in your own teaching.
• …apply the principles of curriculum design to the development of an integrated training program for TAPDP, and later, to your own courses.
• …draw upon a social network and learning community, developed with the other PFs, for support, ideas, professional, and personal growth.
• …reflect constructively on your own learning and teaching, student learning in general, and with specific regard to learning in your discipline.
• …provide constructive feedback to other teachers about their teaching

• ...assess the various institutional contexts in American higher education and evaluate their implications for your career as a faculty member;
• ...apply to your role as an emerging academic professional your understanding of the changing student population, the structure of American higher education, and governance and accountability issues;
• ...analyze and evaluate issues that you will face you as a new faculty member in your first academic job and assess their implication for the progress of your faculty career;
• ...identify and use resources to help you adjust to and succeed in your first faculty position.
• ...reflect on your own teaching practice and explain your approach to teaching to colleagues and future employers, both in writing and orally;

Course Requirements:

1. There is a required textbook for the course (see above), however I will also be distributing articles and other short readings. Since discussion will be based in part on the content of these readings, please read them before class.
2. Since our opportunities to meet are limited, attendance & participation are critical. If an absence is unavoidable, please give me as much notice as possible.
3. There is no final for this course; however, you will be expected to deliver or co-deliver a completed, polished workshop that you will eventually offer in this Fall’s TAPDP
4. This course is graded IP (In Progress) for Pedagogical Fellows. After the successful completion of the assignments, PFs will receive a grade of “IP.” At the successful completion of 390C, PFs will receive three-six units (however much they have registered for) of a “Satisfactory” grade. PFs are expected to miss no more than one of each quarter’s classes. For non-PFs this course will be graded “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory.” Completion of all assignments and attendance at at least eight of the ten class periods will earn non-PFs a “Satisfactory” grade. Additionally, attendance at at least nine of the ten class periods will earn non-PFs a certificate of completion of the course.
5. Please turn off your cell phones during class. If you are expecting a call that you can’t miss, please put your phone on vibrate and leave the room to answer it.

Academic Honesty:

We expect that you will abide by UCI’s Academic Honesty policy


If you need any kind of accommodation to participate in this course for a documented disability, please let us know.

Course Calendar

March 28

(3-5: All Students - Building Community, How People Learn, Higher Education as your Future Employer, Types of American Colleges and Universities, How People Learn)
(5-6: PFs Only - PF Roles and Responsibilities)


Today you will…

…begin to get to know one another
…begin a discussion of how learning happens

Additionally, PFs will...

…clarify your understanding of being a PF & of TAPDP

Readings (All):
Jaschik, Scott (2006, February 27). The New Carnegie Classifications. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved September 27, 2010, from

Homework (All):

Visit the Carnegie Classification Main Page: and read the short descriptive paragraphs.

The Carnegie Foundation made drastic changes in the classification scheme in 2005. Find the tab on the top of the page labeled “Classification Descriptions.” On the page that appears, select “Basic Classification” and explore that page carefully.

Next, click on the “Institutional Lookup” tab and search for:

• Your undergraduate institution(s);
• UCI;
• other institutions of interest to you;
• and institutions where you would like to have your first faculty job.

Please print out these listings and come to class prepared to talk about what you learned.

April 4

(3-6: All Students - How People Learn, cont.; Diversity of Learning Styles; Finding, Reading, and Targeting Job Ads)


Today you will…

…analyze & discuss how the biology of learning is related to instructional design
…identify your own learning & teaching styles
…analyze & discuss the different kinds of student diversity & learning styles & their relationship to one another
…explore resources for finding academic jobs
…begin to hone your Curriculum Vitae

Readings (All):
Erickson, Teaching First Year College Students , Chapters 3 and 13

Leamnson, R. (2000). Learning as Biological Brain Change. Change, 32 (6), 34-40.

Homework (All):
Take the online learning styles inventory at: Print out and bring a copy of your results to class.

Take the online teaching styles inventory at Print out and bring a copy of your results to class.

Also, spend some time looking over the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “First Time on the Market” site at and come prepared to share your thoughts on the site.

Also, Bring three copies of your current CV.

Also, find an ad for a job at a college or university at which you’d be interested in being a professor. You may do this through the Chronicle job site at or via one of the job search services specific to your discipline. Print out and bring two copies of your job ad to class., a webpage at U. Va., has a comprehensive list of discipline-specific job search sites.

April 11

(3-5: All Students - Active/Interactive Learning, Engaging Students in Learning, Beginning the Teaching Philosophy)

(5-6: PFs Only - Beginning to work on your workshops)


Today you will…

…explore & discuss some of the literature re: active/interactive learning methods
…identify the strengths & weaknesses of these methods
…critique a teaching philosophy and begin to construct your own

Additionally, PFs will…

…discuss and begin planning the workshops they will be leading in 390A

Readings (All):

Erikson, Teaching First Year College Students , Chapters 9 and 10

Bonwell, C. C. (1996). Enhancing the Lecture: Revitalizing a Traditional Format. New Directions for Teaching & Learning.

O’Neal, C., Meizlish, D., & Kaplan, M. (2007). Writing a statement of teaching philosophy for the academic job search. CRLT Occasional Paper, 23. Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Prince, M., (2004). Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research. Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 93, No. 3, pp.223–246.

Readings (PFs):
Explore the archived TAPDP workshops in the EEE course dropbox

Course Deliverable: A polished copy of your academic CV (due at the beginning of class).

April 18

(3-6: All Students - Curriculum Design I)


Today you will…

…master the construction of student learning outcomes
…align pedagogies and assessments to those outcomes
…begin constructing your sample syllabus

Readings and Homwork (All):
Erikson, Teaching First Year College Students, Chapter 11

Diamond, R.M. (1997). Designing Courses and Curricula. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco. Chapter 9 only.

Enerson, D.M., Plank, K.M., and Johnson, R.N. (2007). An Introduction to Classroom Assessment Techniques. Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, Penn State. Downloaded on 4/1/10 from:

Also, bring a completed copy of the course design pre-assignment to class (Chris will provide this ahead of time via e-mail).

April 25

(3-5: All Students - Curriculum Design II - Creating the Syllabus; Refining the Teaching Philosophy)

(5-6: PFs Only - Exploring Disciplinary Cultures of Teaching)


Today you will…

…continue to design your sample syllabus
…refine your teaching philosophy

Readings (PFs):
Huber, “Disciplines, Pedagogy, and Inquiry-Based Learning About Teaching,” Exploring Research-Based Teaching, p. 69-77 (Fall 2006)
Review literature in your own field

Find, read and bring to class one article on teaching and learning specific to your discipline.

Homework (All):
Bring enough copies of the first draft of your teaching philosophy to class to share with your Quad-mates.

May 2

(3-4: All Students - Access and Equality in Higher Education)
(4-6: PFs Only - PF-led workshops)


Readings (All; note that you are not required to read all of these articles, only those assigned to your grouping):

Group One (new demographics): Buck Taylor, Amy Allen, Sarah Hernandez, Gabriela Noriega, Jen Kosakowski, Dan Flynn, Huidong Liu, Briana Hinga
Swail, W. S. (2002, July/August). Higher education and the new demographics: Questions for policy. Change 34(4), 15 23.

The American Freshmen: Forty-year trends. A brief by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. January 2008.

Group Two (the educational value of diversity): Robert Campbell, Patrice Amon, Krystal Hauser, Carlos Vargas, Tadj Schreck, Bennett McNulty, Ashley Demyan
Gurin, P., Dey, E.L., Hurtado, S., and Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72(3): 330-366.

Group Three (the historical context): Leona Bessonova, Joel Ross, Weiwei Chen, Hiromi Arai, Parvin Shahrestani, Kim Feig, Sergey Osechinskiy, Nuan Gao
Lewis, E. (2004). Why history remains a factor in the search for racial equality. In P. Gurin, J. S. Lehman, & E. Lewis (Eds.), Defending diversity: Affirmative action at the University of Michigan (pp. 17-59, 198-205). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Nidiffer, J. (2001). Timeline for the history of higher education. (unpublished).

Group Four (the economics of access): Jeb Bates, Tim Barker, Bryan Nelle, Elizabeth Rush, Brittany Liu, Piper Hollenbeck, Andrew Hatch
Callan, P.M. (2006). College Affordability: Colleges, states increase financial burdens on students and families. In, Measuring Up: The National Report Card on Higher Education. Downloaded from on Sept. 24, 2009.

Toppo, G. (2005, February 2). Is college getting out of reach? Low-income students face an uphill climb to pay for education. USA Today, 6D

Lewin, T. (2008, December 3). College may become unaffordable for most in U.S. The New York Times.

Readings (PFs):
Sample Workshops on your topic (if available) in the 390A Course Dropbbox

PF-led Workshops:

4:00-5:00 Taylor, Bates and Campbell: The First Days of Class
5:00-6:00 Liu, Rush, and Schreck: TA Roles and Responsibilities

Course Deliverable: A polished copy of your teaching philosophy (due at the beginning of class).

May 9

(3-5: All Students - Faculty Work Life - Tenure, Balance, and Happiness; Refining the Syllabus)
(5-6: PFs Only [all students are welcome to stay and participate] - PF-led Workshops)


Readings (All):
García, M. (2000). Succeeding in an academic career: A guide for faculty of color (pp. xiv-xix, 16-26). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Marklein, M.B. (2002, December 5). Non-tenured instructors feel relegated to second class [Electronic version]. USA Today, D10.
Mason, M.A. & Goulden, M. (2004, November-December). Do babies matter (Part II)?: Closing the baby gap. Academe, 11-15.
Rosser, V.J. & Tabata, L.N. (2010). An examination of faculty work: Conceptual and theoretical frameworks in the literature. In J.C. Smart (ed.), Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research; pgs. 449-475.

Homework (All):
Bring enough copies of a polished draft of your sample course syllabus to share with all your quadmates.

Also, before class on the 16th, please interview both your advisor and one faculty member from a non-research-oriented institution. Your interview should include these questions, as well as anything you wish to ask about life as a faculty member:
• Why did you seek a job at your institution?
• What does a typical work week look like for you?
• What is the most rewarding part of your job?
• What is the least rewarding part of your job?
• What aspect of your job were you most prepared for?
• What aspect of your job were you least prepared for?

PF-led Workshops:

5:00-6:00: Amon, Feig, and Kosakowski: Learning Styles

May 16

(3-4: All Students - Technology and the Changing Classroom)
(4-6: PFs Only [all students are welcome to stay and participate] - PF-led Workshops)


Readings (All):
Chickering, A.W. and Ehrmann, S.C. (1996). Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as lever. October 1996 AAHE Bulletin.
Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. (2009). U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development. Pp. i-xvi.

PF-led Workshops:

4:00-5:00 Hernandez, Flynn, and Ross: Problem Solving Skills
5:00-6:00 Nelle, Hinga, and McNulty: Leading Discussions

Course Deliverable: A polished copy of your sample syllabus (due at the beginning of class).

May 23

(3-6: All Students - Key Issues for Higher Education in the 21st Century, What Search Committees Want)

Required Readings:
Arenson, K. W. [Electronic Version]. (2006, February 9). Panel explores standard tests for colleges. The New York Times.
Bollinger, L. [Electronic Version]. (2005, April 8). The value and responsibilities of academic freedom. The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Broughton, W., & Conlogue, W. (2004). What search committees want. Retrieved September 28, 2010 from jil_jobseekers/jil_jobseekers_pro
Byrne, J.V. (2006). Public higher education reform five years after the Kellogg Commission on the future of state and land-grant universities. Commissioned by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Levine, A. (2005). Worlds apart: Disconnects between students and their colleges. In R. H. Hersh & J. Merrow(Eds.) Declining by degrees: Higher education at risk (pp. 155-167). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Young, V.L. (2002). Seeking a faculty position: Hiring committees pay close attention to all parts of the application package [Electronic version]. Chemical and Engineering News, 80(47), 60-64.

May 23 Homework (All):
Find a graduate student colleague who has been to an academic interview (for a faculty-level position). Talk to them about this process, and ask them:

• What was the most challenging part of the interview process?
• What was the most rewarding part of the interview process?
• What did they think they had done well in the interview?
• What did they think they had done poorly in the interview?
• What advice do they have for others about to embark on the same process?

Bring your notes from this interview to class on the 23rd.

May 31 Memorial Day Holiday - NO CLASS

June 6

(3-5: All Students - Quick Starters: Faculty who Succeed, Final Q&A)
(5-6: PFs only - Preparing for the Summer, Talking with Veteran PFs)

No Readings or Homework for Non-PFs!

Readings for PFs:
Re-read/ Re-familiarize yourself with PF Pac

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