College Pedagogy Research, selected
$286,000+ in grant funding


College Pedagogy

Although numerous universities offer graduate students opportunities to develop their teaching, few studies probe the credit-bearing graduate course in college teaching. A survey of 105 instructors of graduate pedagogy courses in the US and Canada explored their preparation, professional appointments, students, and assignments. Results showed diverse institutional units offer college pedagogy courses, which are taught by instructors with substantial preparation, most frequently to multidisciplinary groups from diverse majors. Many instructors assign teaching statements, though specifics differ. Comparison to the authors' earlier case study reveals an emerging, recognizable, and international course type that coheres in structure, timing, and at least one key assignment. The ubiquity of college pedagogy courses recommends substantial institutional investment, scholarly analysis, and professorial discussion to align them with the contemporary goals and standards of graduate education. Keywords: Graduate, higher education, international study, pedagogy, teaching assistants

This study examines and documents graduate pedagogy courses offered at a large Midwestern research university. Thirty-three graduate pedagogy course instructors from 32 departments (a majority of those offering courses) completed an online survey. We report on enrollment demographics, preparation of faculty to teach such a course, and how a statement of teaching philosophy is presented to the class. This research connects the analyses of individual pedagogy courses with the few national studies on teacher training, outlines assumptions about an emerging field, and lays groundwork for a comprehensive study of the landscape and outcomes of graduate pedagogy courses nationwide. KEYWORDS: Graduate pedagogy course, graduate student instructor, graduate students, preparing future faculty, scholarly teaching, statement of teaching philosophy, teacher-scholar, teaching assistant


Learning Analytics 
The HumAn Learning Project uses learning analytics to triangulate on strategies for fostering student success in multi-section, general education courses.

Phase 1 of the project, completed in 2015, uncovered important demographic trends in success among 2719 students and 30 AIs involved in a single, multi-section, general education course at Indiana University Bloomington.


Phase 2, completed in 2016, (1) refined description of these trends within a single course using multivariate modeling, (2) assessed variability of student success across sections of the course, (3) analyzed student performance over time, and (4) piloted a discipline-based intervention, Cultures of College.


Phase 3, completed in 2017, extended this research, based in a social science course, to other multi-section, general education courses in the humanities and natural sciences. Our analysis of longitudinal learning analytics data focused us on the first major assignment of first-year courses and grade surprise as important opportunities in improving student success across the general education curriculum. We designed and issued a survey to gauge grade surprise among approximately 2500 students enrolled in three courses during the fall 2017 semester. The results indicate the grade surprise is a significant factor among first-year students, affecting 50% of Chemistry C117 students, 38% of Anthropology A122 students, and 36% of College P155 students.


Phase 4 extends this research to approximately map the general education curriculum, by including courses from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and technological/mathematical sciences: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English, Informatics, and Math. Each of these courses is a large gateway enrolling hundreds or even thousands of students. Altogether they can enroll a total of 3167+ students per semester, giving us a substantial lens on the entire general education curriculum at a large research institution. Our prior work has allowed us to focus on a pivotal juncture in undergraduate education: the first major assignment of a general education course that functions as a gateway into majors, retention, and success in learning. While each course offers interesting variations on the large class theme (in staffing, format, and pedagogy), the potential large-scale impact is impressive: for recruiting and retaining majors, fostering success among traditionally underrepresented student groups, for impacting retention to the third semester. Moreover, this project offers a unique way to link institutional data, classroom data, and students’ affective and behavioral experience across the general education curriculum

Funded by:

Association of American Universities 

Learning Analytics Collaborative Grant from Indiana University 2018

Mack Center for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Fellowship in 2017

Learning Analytics Fellowships from Indiana University 2015-2017 

Research and Leadership Communities  


Teaching Undergraduates  

  • Development of a Social and Ecological Framework for Understanding Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.  R. Shwom and R. Jordan, PIs.

  • Teaching Environmental Literacy:  Across Campus and Across the Curriculum (2012, with Reynolds and Brondizio).  To prepare today's students to meet growing global environmental challenges, colleges and universities must make environmental literacy a core learning goal for all students, in all disciplines. But what should an environmentally literate citizen know? What teaching and learning strategies are most effective in helping students think critically about human-environment interactions and sustainability, and integrate what they have learned in diverse settings? Educators from the natural and social sciences and the humanities discuss the critical content, skills, and affective qualities essential to environmental literacy. This volume is an invaluable resource for developing integrated, campus-wide programs to prepare students to think critically about, and to work to create, a sustainable society.

  • A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication: Essential ReadingsSecond Edition.  (2010, with Monaghan and Goodman).  Featuring several all-new chapters, revisions, and updates, the Second Edition of A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication presents an interdisciplinary collection of key readings that explore how interpersonal communication is socially and culturally mediated.

    • Includes key readings from the fields of cultural and linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and communication studies

    • Features new chapters that focus on digital media

    • Offers new introductory chapters and an expanded toolkit of concepts that students may draw on to link culture, communication, and community

    • Expands the Ethnographer’s Toolkit to include an introduction to basic concepts followed by a range of ethnographic case studies

  • My course portfolio analyzes the relationship between instructor comments on writing and student revisions in a single course. 

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