August 27, 2012
Writer: Hayden Coombs
At a recent course and syllabus design workshop for new faculty, the question was posed, "If you just teach, will students learn?" Due to students' prior knowledge and false understanding of concepts, being a professor is not easy. This profession is one heavily wrapped in tradition that has tended to ignore student outcomes.
Brother Devan Barker of the Instructional Development Office said, "The job description here (at BYU-Idaho) is different. It goes beyond just being an expert of your field." BYU-Idaho is a university focused on instruction, rather than research. The professors at this school are not doing countless hours of research, but instead focusing all their time and effort on preparing courses with their students in mind.
Brother Barker also commented that, "It would be very hard (for professors at this school) to keep up an agenda of research and publication while manning a heavy teaching load." He urged the new members of the faculty to, "keep in mind that this is a teaching institution."
The faculty of BYU-Idaho truly strives to help their students develop a desire to learn. The faculty has great expectations for their students and wants to help them to be successful in life. Instead of bringing the typical, accepted teaching methods to the table, the professors at BYU-Idaho design their courses solely with the students in mind.
This method of course and syllabus design has already yielded positive results. Some of these results include courses being more student-focused, rather than professor or context focused, as well as placing a greater emphasis upon learning and analytical thinking, instead of just reviewing text books and notes.