IDEA Papers

The IDEA Paper series, begun in 1979, is one of IDEA’s most recognizable resources. IDEA Papers are a national forum for the publication of peer-reviewed articles pertaining to the general areas of teaching and learning, faculty evaluation, curriculum design, assessment, and administration in higher education.

If you are looking for additional resources to support improved teaching and student learning, look at our POD-IDEA Notes on Instruction and our POD-IDEA Notes on Learning.

If you are looking for additional research on IDEA, look at our external publications.

Aims and Scope

IDEA Papers publish peer-reviewed scholarly papers of a theoretical/conceptual and applied nature that contribute to the understanding of higher-education faculty teaching, evaluation, and development; and leadership evaluation and development. Papers representing all aspects of teaching and academic leadership are welcomed including reflections, reviews of research, guidelines for effective practice, and research-based suggestions for improving teaching, student learning, and leadership. The series, however, does not publish papers whose primary purpose is to report the method and results of an empirical study.

Editorial Board

Ronald A. Berk, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus and former Assistant Dean for Teaching
The Johns Hopkins University

Allison P. Boye, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Teaching, Learning, & Professional Devel. Ctr.
Texas Tech University

Kay Gillespie, Ph.D.
Associate Editor, Innovative Higher Education
Professor Emerita, Colorado State University

Walt Gmelch, Ph.D.
Professor of Leadership Studies
University of San Francisco

James E. Groccia, Ph.D.
Professor, Educational Foundations, Leadership & Technology
Auburn University

Enoch S. Hale, Ph.D.
Learning Innovation Consultant
Virginia Commonwealth University

Teddi A. Joyce, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Contemporary Media & Journalism
University of South Dakota

Patricia R. Payette, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Director, Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning
University of Louisville

Susan R. Perry, Ph.D.
University Director of Outcome Assessment
Case Western Reserve University

Dan Wheeler, Ph.D.
Professor of Extension and Higher Education
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Guest Reviewers, 2015-2016

Sheryl E. Burgstahler, Ph.D.
University of Washington

Roxanne M. Cullen, Ph.D.
Ferris State University

Ronald G. Downey, Ph.D.
Kansas State University (Emeritus)

Ann Bainbridge Frymier, Ed.D.
Miami University

Christine Harrington, Ph.D.
Middlesex County College

Robert J. Sidelinger, Ed.D.
Oakland University

Submit a manuscript

Instructions for Authors

Latest Articles


Faculty Development

The Flipped Classroom

Anne M. Braseby

University of Texas, Austin

Use of the word "flipped" has become the latest buzzword in the educational world. This paper explores the different uses of the term "flipped," exami

Team Teaching

Kathryn M. Plank

Otterbein University

Team teaching has the potential to have a profound impact on both teaching and learning. Many who have taught as part of a team report the break from

Reflective Ethical Inquiry: Preparing Students for Life

Donna M. Qualters, Melissa McDaniels, Perrin Cohen

Tufts University, Michigan State University, Northeastern University

Although universities often teach ethics courses, they do not always teach students how to apply ethical course content to ethical dilemmas they enco

Active Learning Strategies in Face-to-Face Courses

Barbara J. Millis

The University of Texas at San Antonio

As numerous research studies suggest, teachers who desire increased student learning should adopt active learning. This article explores the research

Using Graphic Organizers to Improve Teaching and Learning

Kenneth A. Kiewra

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Students often have difficulty learning from texts and lectures because information is commonly organized in blocks or lines that obscure important re

Effective Classroom Discussions

William E. Cashin, professor emeritus

Kansas State University

This paper primarily addresses discussion in small classes that meet one or more times a week. This paper provides many suggestions for promoting disc

Promoting Deep Learning

Barbara J. Millis

The University of Texas at San Antonio

This paper attempts to answer the question of what deep learning is and what deep learning look like as well as provides research-based methods for fa

Effective Lecturing

William E. Cashin, professor emeritus

Kansas State University

This paper will attempt to summarize some suggestions from the literature about how to improve the quality of lectures, which will be treated as a gen

Enhancing Learning-and More! – Through Cooperative Learning

Barbara J. Millis

U.S. Air Force Academy

Some of higher education’s most challenging goals include enhancing critical thinking, promoting “deep” (as opposed to superficial) learning, en

Improving Instructors’ Speaking Skills

Nancy R. Goulden

Kansas State University

Instructors may put a lot of effort into preparing course content, but poorly delivered content will minimize learning in a class room. This paper wi

Effective Strategies to Assess Student Learning

Assessing Your Program-Level Assessment Plan

Susan Hatfield, Assessment Director

Winona State University

Regardless of the origin of a program’s assessment plan, all assessment plans can benefit from a periodic reevaluation. This paper poses fourteen ke

The Learning Portfolio: A Powerful Idea for Significant Learning

John Zubizarreta

Columbia College, SC

The learning portfolio promotes and sustains our students’ academic enrichment and personal growth, making it a powerful idea for significant learni

Improving College Grading

Gerald S. Hanna and William E. Cashin

Kansas State Univeristy

This paper focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of grading methods. First, a set of goals or criteria for grading systems will be explained.

Improving Essay Tests

William E. Cashin

Kansas State University

This paper discusses the importance of creating essay test questions to gather important data on student knowledge and learning as well as the need fo

Improving Multiple-Choice Tests

Victoria L. Clegg, William E. Cashin

Kansas State University

This paper discusses the importance of writing multiple choice test questions to ensure that higher level cognitive learning is being assessed. Both

Course Design

Considerations in Online Course Design

Paul A. Creasman, Ph.D.

Arizona Christian University

With distance and online learning becoming ubiquitous in higher education, the need for faculty to be able to create quality online courses is greate

Integrated Course Design

L. Dee Fink

University of Oklahoma

An integrated course design requires a significant investment in time, energy, and thought but has great potential for exerting a potent effect on stu

Constructing a Learner-Centered Syllabus: One Professor's Journey

Aaron S. Richmond

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Educators increasingly agree that a learner-centered syllabus is associated with better rapport between students and teachers and increased student mo

Enhancing Academic Skills

Strategies to Improve Student Writing

David Smit

Kansas State University

This paper discusses why the “crisis” in writing is more a function of our attitudes and expectations than it is a result of how students actually

Getting Students to Read: Fourteen Tips

Eric H. Hobson

Georgia Southern University

It is commonly taken for granted that reading is fundamental in college courses but the literature raises doubts about the validity of that assumption

Helping Your Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Cindy L. Lynch and Susan K. Wolcott

WolcottLynch Associates

When thinking skills are lacking, poor decision making and planning result. This paper focuses on what is known about how thinking skills develop and

Faculty Evaluation

Student Ratings of Teaching: A Summary of Research and Literature

Stephen L. Benton,William E. Cashin, Emeritus professor

The IDEA Center, Kansas State University

This paper is a summary of the conclusions of the major reviews of the student ratings research and literature from the 1970s to 2010. That literature

Appraising Teaching Effectiveness: Beyond Student Ratings

Donald P. Hoyt and William H. Pallett

IDEA Center

This paper focuses on both the direct and indirect contributions to instruction and how to integrate the two when assessing faculty performance.

Developing an Effective Faculty Evaluation System

William E. Cashin

Kansas State University

The higher education rhetoric is almost universal in stating that the primary purpose of faculty evaluation is to help faculty improve their performan

Challenging Misconceptions About Student Ratings of Instruction

Stephen L. Benton, Kenneth R. Ryalls

The IDEA Center

Data from student ratings of instruction (SRI) are used ubiquitously as a key element in providing instructors with valuable feedback and evaluators w

Motivating Students

Student Goal Orientation, Motivation, and Learning

Marilla D. Svinicki

University of Texas-Austin

Of the factors that influence student learning, motivation is surely one of the most potent. Teachers can affect student motivation in ways that eithe

Motivation: An Updated Analysis

Marilla D. Svinicki

Because instructors are very concerned about how to motivate their students, this paper describes some of the most prominent and practically relevant

Effective Use of Technology and Online Learning

Considerations in Online Course Design

Paul A. Creasman, Ph.D.

Arizona Christian University

With distance and online learning becoming ubiquitous in higher education, the need for faculty to be able to create quality online courses is greate

Administrative Leadership

Administrative Leadership

Jon Wergin

Antioch University

This paper reviews current thinking on organizational leadership generally and academic leadership in particular. In the past quarter-century, views