Following up on my previous post, of course I realize that there is virtually zero chance that graduate schools will suddenly decide that they should expend resources on training their students to be better teachers. This is because, while I doubt there is a college administrator in the world who will ever say that undergraduate education isn’t their top priority, there simply isn’t sufficient demand for training grad students to teach well. Yes, there are many, many institutions that want good teachers; there are also just as many who really don’t care (or at least, it isn’t part of the hiring criteria). In economics, the latter group hires more Ph.D. students. I think there are also enough students who self-select into teaching to fill most of the positions with the former group. I was one of those students - I knew before I even got to grad school that I wanted to go teach at a small liberal arts college like my alma mater. So I volunteered to teach classes and I worked hard to figure out how to be a decent teacher. If enough people seem inclined to do the work on their own anyway, why should any University expend resources on providing training to grad students?So then maybe the real question is why isn’t there stronger demand for good teaching? Why don’t students demand it? And what does it take to shift a university culture that doesn’t seem to value teaching on par with research?
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