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February 19, 2001

Benefits, struggles of team teaching
to be panel's focus

By Eric Rangus

The title of the Feb. 22 panel discussion sponsored by the University Advisory Council on Teaching (UACT) is pretty self explanatory.

“The Delights and Difficulties of Team Teaching” will examine the many experiences of faculty members who co-teach classes with their colleagues. It will take place Feb. 22 from noon–1:30 p.m. in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library.

According to Walter Reed, professor of English and UACT chair, who will moderate the discussion, the difficulties of team teaching actually start with defining it.

“It takes any number of different forms,” he said. “It ranges from three faculty members sharing responsibility, to one professor teaching for the first half of the semester and another taking over for the second half. We’re trying to find out some of [team teaching’s] best practices.”

While team teaching is not an uncommon occurrence, Reed said, because it is so tough to define, he does not know how many classes are actually team taught, and specific records on the subject are not kept. Its benefits to faculty, however, are easy to see.

“It’s very stimulating for faculty members,” said Reed who has team taught not only at Emory but also at other universities. “Faculty tend to teach at a higher pitch in the presence of a colleague. It’s a way of pursuing interdisciplinary topics in a way that has more street credibility.”

It is often better, Reed said, for a class to hear from multiple experts on individual subjects than to get all their information from one professor trying to teach everything.

Some of the possible panel topics include the joys and difficulties of team teaching, the recognitions and rewards derived from it, and the fact that teaching classes with other faculty members often requires as much work as teaching solo.

While those are just a few possible avenues of discussion, Reed said the panel will be free form and could address almost anything having to do with the subject.

“This [panel] emerged from a discussion among the UACT representatives as a topic of wide interest,” Reed said. “There’s a certain amount of confusion among faculty and it seemed like an issue that cuts across all the different schools at Emory.”

That wide influence is reflected in the variety of panelists, who come from all over Emory, including Oxford.

Sharing the panel with Reed will be Benn Konsynski, Craft Professor of Business Administration; Marc Miller, professor of law; Sid Perkowitz, Candler Professor of Physics; Gretchen Schulz, associate professor of English at Oxford; and John Sitter, professor of English.

UACT, the panel’s sponsor, is made up of representatives from each of Emory’s nine schools and it meets to discuss issues and aspects of teaching that reach across individual schools, to help individual schools strengthen their support for teaching, and to promote discussions of teaching throughout the University.

Lunch will precede the panel discussion, and a limited number of boxed lunches will be available. Anyone interested in attending the panel discussion, contact Paul Jean at 404-727-1886 or send e-mail to


Back to Emory Report Feb. 19, 2001