The increasing focus on student learning as the central indicator of institutional excellence challenges many tacit assumptions about the respective roles of college students and faculty. In student-centered education, faculty take on less responsibility for being sources of knowledge, and take on greater responsibility as facilitators of a broad range of learning experiences. For their part, students are called on to take on more responsibility for their own learning.
As shown in the following table, the responsibilities of students and faculty and the relationships between them are quite different in the two models:
|Knowledge||Transmitted from instructor||Constructed by students|
|Role of professor||Leader/authority||Facilitator/partner in learning|
|Role of Assessment||Few tests, mainly for grading||Many tests, for ongoing feedback|
|Emphasis||Learning correct answers||Developing deeper understanding|
|Assessment method||Unidimensional testing||Multidimensional products|
|Academic culture||Competitive, individualistic||Collaborative, supportive|
Beginning with Bloom's taxonomy for educational objectives, and continuing with considerable research on teaching and learning, over the last thirty years many detailed lists of "best practices in teaching" have been compiled. Most lists of important "best practices" include the following:
As shown in the figure below, the best student learning outcomes follow from a combination of activities: encouraging faculty development as teachers using the best practices in teaching and learning; engaging students with high levels of involvement in their studies, with other students, and with faculty; and implementing regular, thoughtful, and periodic assessment procedures to provide ongoing feedback: to students about the progress of their learning, to instructors about the efficacy of their teaching, and to program faculty about how well their program is meeting its objectives.