- A Note from the Editors
In this, our third special issue, we focus on a theme that is at the heart of Pedagogy's purpose: professional development of teaching. Flip to the inside front cover, and you'll see our mission statement:
Pedagogy seeks to create a new discourse surrounding teaching in English studies by fusing theoretical approaches and practical realities. As a journal devoted exclusively to pedagogical issues, it is intended as a forum for critical reflection as well as a site for spirited and informed debate from a multiplicity of positions and perspectives. The journal strives to reverse the long-standing marginalization of teaching and the scholarship produced around it and instead to assert the centrality of teaching to our work as scholars and professionals.
This issue does just that. It focuses on reflective practice surrounding professional development from a variety of perspectives and in a multiplicity of voices. It fuses narratives about professional development initiatives with a nuanced and critical analysis of the principles underlying these activities. The authors of these pieces develop a methodological discussion, asking such questions as "what makes professional development efficacious? What kinds of faculty development programs can be sustained? How can we assess the effectiveness of professional development programs?" At the same time, they pursue a theoretical conversation that grows out of and extends the work on the scholarship of teaching and learning.1
Guest editor Barbara Schneider and associate editors Margaret Marshall and Joan Mullin have collected articles and review essays that stem [End Page 403] from their and their authors' experiences providing professional development activities for their colleagues. As Schneider argues in her introduction,
We bring that experience to bear in our essays here. But we also sought to move beyond narratives of those experiences to think through our practices and discern underlying principles that might help us to theorize more carefully what the professional development of teachers involves and how it should be conducted. We also wanted to problematize those experiences, in part by listening to and including the voices of those who are often treated as the objects of our efforts rather than as participating subjects.
In doing so, Schneider and her colleagues have certainly taken on the task of "revers[ing] the long-standing marginalization of teaching and the scholarship produced around it and instead [asserting] the centrality of teaching to our work as scholars and professionals." We wish to thank them for focusing our attention in such a rich way on this important work.
1. The guest editor, Barbara Schneider, notes in her introduction that the authors' professional development efforts grow from their "awareness of a slow shift in our institutions toward increased attention to teaching." They see calls for improvement of teaching at the college level as stemming, in part, from Ernest Boyer's seminal work, Scholarship Reconsidered (1990), and the Carnegie Foundation's later report, Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities (1998), commonly referred to as the Boyer Report.