Seven Characteristics of a Good University Teacher Chickering and Gamson 1987/91

Swansea University

Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT)

Module Feedback

SALT recently analysed free text comments in module feedback. 'areas of improvement' were identified, defined as:-

  • An increase in first class marks
  • A decrease in failure rates
  • Above average marks

Over 200 modules were analysed. Whilst it is difficult to determine the exact reasons behind identified improvement, it is clear that when asked the question...

'What is the best thing about this module?'

...many of the comments related to the lecturer, how they interact with the student cohort and the teaching methods and tools they employ.

Chickering and Gamson

Seven Principles in Undergraduate Education (1987;1991)

It was also clear that many of the comments inadvertently related to 'The Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education' published in an 1987 article by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, later published in a 1991 book 'Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Higher Education'. The principles grew out of a review of 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn, supported by the American Association for Higher Education, the Education Commission of the States and The Johnson Foundation.

This short video explains the principles in a little more detail...

To recap...

  1. Encourage contact between students and faculty
  2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students
  3. Encourage active learning
  4. Communicate high expectations
  5. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning
  6. Emphasise time on task
  7. Give prompt feedback

The principles are...

''intended as guidelines for faculty members, students and administrators....to improve teaching and learning. These principles seem like good common sense, and they are - because many teachers and students have experienced them and because research supports them. They rest on 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn, how students work and play with one another, and how students and faculty talk to each other.'' (Chickering and Gamson, 1987, p1)

The principles provide a useful starting point for reflection and development of learning and teaching methods, allowing for continual change and improvement in HOW teachers teach and learners learn (as well as how teachers learn, and how students teach themselves and each other).

2017 sees the return of the SALT Seminar / Workshop Programme, with this year's theme being the '7 Characteristics'.

The button to the SALT website below offers a fuller account, along with some examples of how the principles can be implemented in teaching, learning and assessment.

2017's seminars and workshops aim to illustrate successful implementation of the principles, which may interest and support academic staff who wish to further develop their approach.

The first seminar took place in November at the Bay campus, 'Lightboard in Engineering' (blog and video recording link below) and the second was at the Singleton campus on Wednesday February 14th, 'Closing the Gap' with Scenario-based learning (video recording available soon). The third, on Audio feedback will take place March 14th (details below). All seminars and workshops link their theme to the '7Cs' and are multi-disciplinary in application.

The use of 'TEL' (Technology Enhanced Learning) or 'enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology' (HEFC 2009, 2) is now relevant to all seven principles, which shows that while methods have advanced considerably since the time of Chickering and Gamson's work, the principles remain the same.

Whether 'traditional' or 'new' methods are used, meeting them is important in achieving the best possible outcomes for learners and higher education professionals alike.

Useful SALT Links...

The SALT website contains helpful information on a range of ways in which technology can be integrated into higher education learning and teaching, which have received excellent student feedback (see SALT>Resources>Technology).

Combined with more traditional pedagogic methods, TEL provides a means of enhancing engagement and relationships between learners and teachers in a wide range of Higher Education settings.

SALT hosts short and helpful sessions throughout 'TEL Month' at the beginning of each academic year. 2017's event is featured in the the SALT newsletter below.

Twitter #SUTEL

'The Flipped Classroom' and 'Inclusivity' are concepts that fit well with all seven principles. SALT runs continual professional development courses available to all academic staff on both, for anyone interested in developing their learning and teaching methods, which are mapped to the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework for Higher Education (UKPSF) and thus helpful for Higher Education Fellowship application. SALT are also piloting Open Digital Badges, upon completion of some courses.

Swansea Graduates 2017

For more information on the 'Seven Characteristics of a Good University Teacher' and Eventbrite booking information for upcoming seminars, please see the SALT website, or contact Simon and Rhian (details below).



Follow SALT on Twitter : https://twitter.com/susaltteam

Created By
Rhian Ellis


Created with images by FeeBeeDee - "seven 2" • senjinpojskic - "connect jigsaw strategy"

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