Two recent news items argue that how professors teach matters more than what they teach. First, the New York Times has profiled ten wildly popular courses at different universities around the USA, including one on cultural anthropology where students participate in an interesting simulation. Enrollment in these courses ranges from a dozen to over a thousand students, pointing out that classes don’t have to be small to be effective — they just have to be taught in a way that gets students interested in learning.
Second, Inside Higher Ed discusses the research of Christopher G. Takacs and Daniel F. Chambliss. Their work suggests that an inspiring professor in an introductory course influences a student’s choice of major more than disciplinary content.
If only doctoral programs and the tenure process took the above processes into account . . .