Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning names scholars for 2008-2010

The Elon University Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning has selected three faculty to be 2008-2010 CATL Scholars. Each professor will be awarded a two-year fellowship to pursue a transformative teaching and learning project, and to work with other teacher-scholars at Elon. This year's recipients are...

From left to right: Chris Leupold, assistant professor of psychology; Alan Russell, associate professor of mathematics; and Stephen Schulman, assistant professor of philosophy.
Chris Leupold, assistant professor of psychology; Alan Russell, associate professor of mathematics; and Stephen Schulman, assistant professor of philosophy.

The Scholars program is also an integral component of Elon’s participation in the Carnegie Institutional Leadership program, a three-year project that will explore ways to improve student learning in the classroom by studying the best practices of learning and teaching. Each Scholar will lead a teaching and research team that will include Elon undergraduate students.
A brief synopsis of each faculty member’s research project follows:

• Chris Leupold, “Transformative Learning in Human Resource Management: A Multi-Unit Experiential Approach to Teaching Staffing and Selection” — Virtually every organization employs standardized selection systems when evaluating job candidates, typically employing a variety of data sources. Since scoring these instruments is great and the costs of a bad hire are often great, organizations routinely invest tremendous resources in training HR professionals to evaluate and synthesize applicant performance to ensure optimal decisions. This project will develop a multi-step experiential exercise for students to take an active role in managing a selection process and evaluating “live” candidate data. Such a program would provide students with real-time, hands-on experience in a manner that even few Fortune 500 companies have.

• Alan Russell, “Scholarship in Statistics Education: Student Concepts of Distribution, Sampling, and Simulation” — This project sets a cutting-edge research agenda for investigating student learning in introductory statistics courses, an emerging field in math education and an important topic in curricular discussions around the country. The project will develop a series of “telling tasks” or authentic problems for students to solve in the areas of distribution, sampling, and simulation. These tasks then will be used in more than twenty sections of General Statistics each semester at Elon to explore both student problem solving skills and student beliefs and knowledge about underlying statistical concepts. This project not only will lead to more innovative and effective teaching of statistics at Elon, it also will contribute to national discussions about math curricula and research on student learning in statistics.

• Stephen Schulman, “Understanding Philosophical Expertise: On Philosophical Evidence-Mindedness and its Development” — This project focuses on philosophical evidence-mindedness, a foundational aspect of philosophical expertise and an almost entirely unexplored subject for research. Evidence-mindedness is, in brief, a way of seeing the world which values evidence and reason in decision making. The project will involve extensive research to arrive at a clear, deep and useful understanding of what philosophical evidence-mindedness is and the developmental stages to achieving it. These insights then will be applied to transform the teaching of philosophy courses and to open new discussions about the development of evidence-mindedness in other academic disciplines.

This year’s Scholar selection committee was comprised of:

o    Megan Conklin, assistant professor of computing sciences and CATL Scholar (2006-2008)
o    Tony Crider, associate professor of physics and CATL Scholar (2006-2008)
o    Steve DeLoach, associate professor of economics
o    Vicky Faw, professor of music
o    Kenn Gaither, assistant professor of communications
o    Tom Henricks, professor of sociology and distinguished university professor
o    Judith Howard, professor of education
o    Jill Medhus, junior International Studies major

The next round of Scholar selections will be made during the fall of 2008 for the 2009-2011 academic years.