FTLC Reads

The FTLC maintains a library of books related to teaching, learning theory, student development, and professional development. If you are looking for a solution to a particular problem, need inspiration, or would simply like to browse and borrow, please visit us in 068 Zumberge Hall.

Each year, we select four books for the year’s “Reads” - these books will be used in our raffles at the Fall Conference on Teaching & Learning and other events.  I have also listed what I consider to be “Classics” - a sampling of the books that we consult frequently and that you might find useful. We have selected a mix of books that provide either practical teaching and learning ideas, perspectives on the teaching profession, or that address larger issues in higher education.

We welcome your comments and suggestions for additions.


Pew FTLC Library

Assessing Student Learning Spotlight

Assessing Student Learning

This edition includes expanded coverage of vital assessment topics such as promoting an assessment culture, characteristics of good assessment, audiences for assessment, organizing and coordinating assessment, assessing attitudes and values, and much more

View More Pew FTLC Library

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Timely Reads

The syllabus as invitation, map, and guide: A Scholarly Teacher blog post that addresses the purpose and tone of the syllabus

Teaching as storytelling: A Teaching Professor blog post that highlights the role of storytelling in learning

Courses involve multiple stories: A course design framework and tutorial captured beautifully in an introductory video

What is the first day of class about? Find inspiration and ideas on our Teaching Resources page

Digital storytelling: scholarly and practical resources for incorporating digital storytelling into your courses

Weimer, M. 2010. Inspired College Teaching: A Career-Long Resource for Professional Growth. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
From one of the sages of the teaching and learning literature, comes a new book broad in scope and likely to make a significant impact on its readers. With sections for new, mid-career and senior faculty, Weimer takes a holistic approach to faculty life, offering best practices, literature summaries, and wisdom applicable to all. She describes the benefits of reflective practice and provides perspectives on end-of-course ratings that are pointed and practical. Turn to this volume again and again for a refresh on making the most of the faculty life. This book is available as an e-book through University Libraries.

Ambrose, S. A., et al. 2010. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
An outstanding, easy-to-read book that I keep coming back to. Each chapter includes a summary of a great deal of research, accompanied by practical, ready-to-implement ideas. For those who are familiar with the literature, this digest is a refreshing take on years of research results. For those new to the study of student learning, this volume shines with a wealth of examples and practical applications. For a brief summary of the book’s main points, visit the Tomorrow’s Professor blog site and search for posting #1057. [https://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/postings.php]. This book is available as an e-book through University Libraries.

Parker Palmer & Arthur Zajonc. 2010. The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Integrative...transformative...holistic. Palmer has described education in these terms in his previous works, but in this latest volume, he takes the 20,000-foot view of the purposes of higher education and the swoops down to offer practical suggestions for fostering dialog around integrative learning and educating the whole student. This book is available as an e-book through University Libraries.

Simkins, S. & Maier, M. H. 2010. Just-In-Time Teaching: Across the Disciplines and Across the Academy, Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Just-in-Time Teaching refers to a research-based pedagogy shown to improve student learning in a range of disciplines. This volume provides an overview of the approach followed by examples from disciplines including biological sciences, geosciences, economics, and history. In JiTT, students respond to questions related to upcoming class material a few hours before class, allowing instructors to incorporate student examples, deal with misconceptions and focus on concept application during class. The types of questions involved are not mere homework problems, but seek to help students build cognitive skills, confront misconceptions, make connections to prior knowledge, and develop metacognitive thinking practices. The sample questions and approaches in each chapter are certainly relevant to other disciplines. I will be applying ideas from the economics and humanities chapters of this book in my next chemistry courses.

Barkley, E. F. 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
A research-based collection of tips, strategies, and techniques to engage students in meaningful learning. The book is divided into three parts, the first provides a theoretical framework for understanding student engagement, the second offers tips and strategies, and the third describes fifty learning activities that can be used across many disciplines. What I really like is that each activity is coded for ease of “online transferability” making this book of particular use for those teaching online as well as face-to-face classes.

Finkel, D. A. 2000. Teaching With Your Mouth Shut. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers.
Not a how-to manual, but rather a book that aims to “provoke fruitful dialogue about teaching and learning.” It challenges traditional ideas about power and authority in the classroom and is suitable reading for faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate classes. This popular book is a thought-provoking read to help you reflect on your own teaching or to use as the basis of discussion with colleagues.

Magolda, M. B., 2001. Making Their Own Way: Narratives for Transforming Higher Education to Promote Self-Development. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
The author follows a group of students from their first year in college and through their twenties. Annual interviews yielded a description of their ways of knowing during college and after and illustrated how participants moved from external to internal self-definition and finally toward self-authorship. The stories offer college faculty specific examples of how to be good company to promote self-authorship in the classroom and in faculty-student interactions. There are plenty of stories and lessons for student affairs personnel, as well, showing the impact of service learning, career services, academic advising, and residence life. The student voices heard throughout the text as well as the result conceptual framework for improvement make for a powerful combination.

Bean, J. C. 1996. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
This book provides a how-to guide to help instructors design activities that promote critical thinking, primarily through writing. A basic premise of this book is that “critical thinking–and indeed all significant learning–originates in the learner’s engagement with problems.” Suggestions for writing instruction are sprinkled throughout. While one of the oldest books on this list, it is one that I still see mentioned frequently in the higher education literature.


Bain, K. 2004. What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 
Bain studied approximately seventy of the best teachers in the U.S. In this book, he provides examples from a range of disciplines of what these best teachers do and how they think, capturing the lessons learned in an engaging and thought-proving way.

Fink, D. L. 2003. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing New Courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 
Fink takes ideas from the literature and creates a conceptual framework for course design. The book includes tools for analyzing existing courses and templates for careful consideration of all aspects of a course.

Nilson, L. B. 2003. Teaching at its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, 2nd Ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 
A concise compilation of hundreds of teaching techniques and formats, classroom and electronic activities, and guidelines for assignments and papers. The content is grounded in the vast body of research on college-level teaching. The audience for this useful book is new and seasoned instructors alike.

Robertson, D. R. 2003. Making Time, Making Change: Avoiding Overload in College Teaching. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. 
A slim volume that elevates our awareness of how we use our time and provides suggestions as to how we might improve that use of time. My copy is highlighted, annotated, and filled with Post-it® flags.

Angelo, T. A. And Cross, K. P. 1993. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd Ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 
This volume is a practical how-to guide that faculty members can use to assess the quality of teaching and learning in their classroom. The first section includes a Teaching Goals Inventory, a most helpful research-based tool for identifying and clarifying one’s teaching goals. The Inventory items are tied to fifty different Classroom Assessment Techniques. These CATs are really student engagement techniques at heart and many are creative and fun. Each technique is accompanied by suggestions for use, pros, cons, and caveats. This book is a classic and helpful to have at one’s elbow.

Palmer, P. 1998. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 
Palmer asks the reader to step back and consider why one teachers. Palmer's central premise is "Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher." We have used this text as the basis of our Teaching Life Retreat, held each May, for a number of years with great success.

Savory, P, A. N. Burnett, and A. Goodburn. 2007. Inquiry into the College Classroom. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. 
An essential read for anyone engaged in (or contemplating) the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). This practical guide for conducting scholarly inquiry into classroom teaching provides a formal model for all aspects of the project, from formulating questions to data collection and analysis. We use this book in the Liberal Education Academy and in individual consultations with faculty about SOTL.

Chism, N. V. N. 2007. Peer Review of Teaching: A Sourcebook, 2nd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 
This book for administrators has two parts: the first details a framework for designing and implementing peer review and the second provides guidelines, protocols and forms. This second addition has been updated to includes discussion of peer review in nontraditional contexts such as clinics, studios, problem-based learning, and web-based instruction.

Page last modified December 10, 2020