Improving the Environment for Learning: Academic Leaders Talk About What Works


Janet Donald

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This book identifies optimal practices or "benchmarks" for creating a quality learning environment within higher education and outlines steps faculty and administrators can take to improve student learning. Author Janet Donald integrates extensive research on teaching and learning with findings from her in-depth interviews with faculty and administrators at four of America's premier research institutions. She focuses on key factors influencing learning, identifies practices and policies central to effectiveness, and offers timely and feasible solutions for meeting student learning challenges.

Academic leaders who have been charged with ensuring accountability and promoting improvement in institutions of higher educations will find a variety of perspectives and strategies that can be adapted to their own institutions. Using the voices of faculty, administrators, and members of higher education centers, Donald investigates institutional missions and priorities. She examines how learning goals vary across the disciplines and what this means in terms of student outcomes. She also describes practices that support the improvement of teaching and she discusses classroom assessment techniques that measure learning and teaching. Donald examines student selection and access--especially questions of quality and diversity--and discusses how to foster motivation for learning. In addition, she provides strategies for recognizing teaching in tenure and reward systems and points out the importance of academic leadership.

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