Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Book Series Announcement

I am very pleased to announce that I will be editing a new series of books on teaching and learning in higher education from the University of Nebraska Press.  We are anticipating publishing one or two titles per year for the next four years, and then seeing where things stand and evaluating whether that pace makes sense.  As I described it in the proposal, the series will have three distinctive features:

1) None of the pseudo-objective, passive-voiced prose that characterizes too much literature on teaching and learning.  First and foremost we are looking for authors who can write.  As my editor at HUP once described it, the reader should be able to discern a human being behind the prose.  We are looking for lively prose voices that know how to blend the personal and reportorial with the (social) scientific.  For excellent examples of the kinds of prose voices we are seeking, see the recent books of Ken Bain or Cathy N. Davidson.

2) All books will rest on a solid foundation of knowledge from the learning sciences.  While certainly not every book will focus explicitly on findings from cognitive psychology or neuroscience, we want to ensure that our authors have a basic familiarity with what scientists tell us about how the brain learns.

3) Each title will focus on a very specific problem, challenge, or approach facing or available to 21st-century higher education faculty.  So we envision a title on the teaching of writing in the digital age, for example--one that can guide faculty who might find themselves responsible for teaching writing in general education courses without having had any background or training in the teaching of writing.  The books will survey what the literature of the learning sciences tells us about their subject, and then offer practical implications and guidelines for working faculty or administrators.

We have not yet formalized these guidelines into a call for proposals; check back here over the next month or so and I hope to have that formal document ready soon.  In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more or would like to propose an topic, don't hesitate to get in touch.  You can find me most easily on Twitter at LangOnCourse or via e-mail at lang followed by the @assumption.edu.

Quick update or two beyond that.  I am slowly working my way toward a new book project on the subject of immersive learning experiences.  My interest in this topic has stemmed from studying the problem of transfer in learning--i.e., how learners apply knowledge or skills they have learned in one context into another context.  You can read my first thoughts on the issue in a recent column for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

At the same time, I have been on the road quite a bit, and 2013 looks to be even busier.  In mid-February I will be at Texas Women's University in Denton, TX.  In May I will be doing a multi-day faculty workshop at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.  Quite excited about that trip--doing faculty development in the shadow of the Biblical Mount Ararat!  In late May I will be at the Teaching Professor Conference in New Orleans, and then in June at Ken Bain's Best Teachers Summer Institute in New Jersey.  After several family vacation trips in June/July, I will be back at it in September  for what I hope will be a two-week Fulbright Senior Specialists Grant at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

It keeps me busy, but travel is one of my greatest joys, and visiting other institutions gives me a steady stream of new experiences and ideas for my columns in The Chronicle of Higher Education. If you see me at a conference or event, and you--or a colleague--is doing something you think the world should know about, come up and introduce yourself and tell me about it.

And good luck in the new semester . . .