In 1994 the Teaching Resource Center won a Special Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This grant, together with gifts secured by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, enabled the creation of three rotating U.Va. NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorships (DTPs). Each endowed chair, awarded to an associate or full professor for a three-year period, recognizes excellent undergraduate teaching in the humanities. This spring two NEH DTPs were awarded, to Brian Balogh, the 2004-2007 Richard A. and Sarah Page Mayo NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor of History, and to Mark Edmundson, the 2004-2007 Daniels Family NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor of English. This issue of Teaching Concerns features Brian Balogh; more on Mark Edmundson and his project will be forthcoming in the spring edition.
Brian Balogh explains that his teaching philosophy is "simple""Effective teaching requires active learning. We know that this is the case for students: it is even more important, however, for the teacher." To this end, he works to make his teaching more innovative, while challenging students and helping them remember what they've learned long after the course is over. As he writes, "learning about the varied ways in which my students learn has been one of the most challenging intellectual puzzles that I have pursued as a professor." Moreover, he finds the task of explaining esoteric and complicated phenomenon clearly and concisely to students is an effective tool for sharpening his own scholarship and communication.
Brian plans to discover ways to produce teaching materials the way many disciplines produce scholarly materialscollaboratively. Central to his project is the question: Can we reshape the basic unit through which many of us teach (that is, one individual teaching a lecture course)? He hopes to serve as a catalyst to this process, by fostering conversations among faculty across disciplines and by pooling teaching materials and web resources to create a collective database they each contribute to and can draw from for their classes.
in more information about the Chair's duties can find details on the TRC
web site under "Faculty Teaching Awards" and can contact TRC
Director Marva Barnett. Questions about the nomination and selection process
should be directed to Karen Ryan, Associate Dean of the Arts, Humanities,
and Social Sciences, 924-3437.