Faculty Book Club

Join the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence's (ATLE) Faculty Book Club. The book club is an ongoing, informal, cross-disciplinary gathering of USF faculty who meet to discuss their subjective interpretations of a variety of books related to teaching and learning.

Each instance of the book club will focus on one book, typically last between 4-8 weeks (consisting of 3-4 discussion meetings), and will be limited to 10 participants. Registration will be conducted on a first-come-first-served basis. Faculty who agree to attend the discussion meetings are provided with a complimentary copy of the book. The Faculty Book Club will be facilitated by a member of the ATLE staff.

Fall 2015

Ambrose, S. A. et al. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching.

Distilling the research literature and translating the scientific approach into language relevant to a college or university teacher, this book introduces seven general principles of how students learn. The authors have drawn on research from a breadth of perspectives (cognitive, developmental, and social psychology; educational research; anthropology; demographics; organizational behavior) to identify a set of key principles underlying learning, from how effective organization enhances retrieval and use of information to what impacts motivation. Integrating theory with real-classroom examples in practice, this book helps faculty to apply cognitive science advances to improve their own teaching. (

Emad Mansour

Participants: Elizabeth Cass, Glen Parker, Chung Seop Jeong, Kristine Del Vecchio, Kamila Dell, Anna Torrens Armstrong, Elizabeth Dunn, Nancy Lewis, Diane Verrill

Summer 2015

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do.

What makes a great teacher great? Who are the professors students remember long after graduation? This book, the conclusion of a fifteen-year study of nearly one hundred college teachers in a wide variety of fields and universities, offers valuable answers for all educators.

The short answer is--it's not what teachers do, it's what they understand. Lesson plans and lecture notes matter less than the special way teachers comprehend the subject and value human learning. Whether historians or physicists, in El Paso or St. Paul, the best teachers know their subjects inside and out--but they also know how to engage and challenge students and to provoke impassioned responses. Most of all, they believe two things fervently: that teaching matters and that students can learn.

In stories both humorous and touching, Bain describes examples of ingenuity and compassion, of students' discoveries of new ideas and the depth of their own potential. What the Best College Teachers Do is a treasure trove of insight and inspiration for first-year teachers and seasoned educators.(

Facilitator: Nicole West
Participants: Chung Seop Jeong, Kristine Del Vecchio, Kamila Dell, Luckson Bonhomme, Teri Walseth, Kathi Katz, Justin Fitzgerald, Toni Imudia, Darlene DeMarie

Summer 2014

Sandberg, S. (2013). Lean in: Women, work, and the will to lead. New York: Knopf.

"In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of "having it all."  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home." (

Facilitator: Nicole West
Participants: Debra Dobbs, Elizabeth Walton, Mallory Trochesset, Chantale Begin, Vasiliki Lykourinou, Kamila Dell, Melissa Ruble, Sommer Mitchell, Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Jaclyn Cole

Spring 2014

Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

"You've heard about "flipping your classroom"—now find out how to do it! Introducing a new way to think about higher education, learning, and technology that prioritizes the benefits of the human dimension. José Bowen recognizes that technology is profoundly changing education and that if students are going to continue to pay enormous sums for campus classes, colleges will need to provide more than what can be found online and maximize "naked" face-to-face contact with faculty. Here, he illustrates how technology is most powerfully used outside the classroom, and, when used effectively, how it can ensure that students arrive to class more prepared for meaningful interaction with faculty. Bowen offers practical advice for faculty and administrators on how to engage students with new technology while restructuring classes into more active learning environments." (

Facilitator: Floyd Ballard

Fall 2013

Willingham, D. T. (2009). Why don't students like school? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

"Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences. Includes:

Facilitator: Nicole West

Summer 2013

Palmer, P.  (2007). The Courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's life. Wiley: San Francisco.

Click here for the discussion guide and the book summary.

"This book is for teachers who have good days and bad — and whose bad days bring the suffering that comes only from something one loves. It is for teachers who refuse to harden their hearts, because they love learners, learning, and the teaching life." — Parker J. Palmer

"For many years, Parker Palmer has worked on behalf of teachers and others who choose their vocations for reasons of the heart but may lose heart because of the troubled, sometimes toxic systems in which they work. Hundreds of thousands of readers have benefited from his approach in THE COURAGE TO TEACH, which takes teachers on an inner journey toward reconnecting with themselves, their students, their colleagues, and their vocations, and reclaiming their passion for one of the most challenging and important of human endeavors." (

Facilitator: Nicole West