Guiding Principles and Practices of Effective Teaching

Revised by Faculty Senate Executive Committee on February 24, 2004

Adopted by Faculty Senate on May 4, 2004 for insertion in Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff


Statement of Purpose:

††††††††† Teaching is part of Binghamton Universityís core mission, whether it be in the context of undergraduate or graduate education, mentoring, or any of the other myriad ways that faculty interact with students.Our students challenge us as a faculty to foster a rich and diverse learning environment. To this end, the Faculty Senate endorses the following eight guiding principles of teaching and learning and encourages the individual schools and departments to develop complementary sets of principles and practices that better reflect their specific mission.


The faculty member:


Principle 1. Sets clear goals and intellectual challenges for student learning

Examples of effective practices:

  • identifies key concepts or ideas in the field and helps students to understand and apply them
  • communicates current research and knowledge relevant to course goals
  • identifies key steps in achieving learning goals
  • actively helps students to accomplish goals and meet challenges as defined in the course outline
  • sets high, yet reasonable, expectations of studentsí learning
  • encourages students to think analytically and solve problems

Principle 2. Employs teaching methods and strategies that actively involve students

Examples of effective practices:

  • organizes effective learning experiences to meet intellectual goals and learning outcomes
  • shows awareness that learning is a process that transforms and changes learners
  • values and encourages student input and feedback
  • evaluates and assesses learning in a manner consistent with established goals and learning outcomes
  • encourages and assists students in self-directed learning activities

Principle 3. Communicates and interacts effectively with students

Examples of effective practices:

  • exhibits a strong interest in students
  • engenders enthusiasm and interest in subject matter
  • attends to classroom dynamics that enhance or inhibit learning
  • expresses goals, intended outcomes, and expectations clearly and effectively and discusses these with students
  • uses fair and reasonable methods of evaluating learning
  • encourages appropriate student-faculty interaction

Principle 4. Attends to the intellectual and social growth of students

Examples of effective practices:

  • provides, and discusses with students, explicit criteria for assessing learning
  • reviews studentsí progress in achieving intellectual goals and learning outcomes
  • acquires regular and varied feedback on studentsí accomplishments
  • provides advanced learning opportunities for those students who seek them
  • helps students to develop social skills such as team work, communication, and leadership

Principle 5. Respects the diverse talents and learning styles of students

Examples of effective practices:

  • recognizes and accommodates different learning styles
  • employs multiple methods in evaluating students
  • balances collaborative and individual student learning to reflect the course aims and outcomes
  • demonstrates sensitivity to social and cultural issues
  • accommodates students with diverse abilities

Principle 6. Encourages learning beyond the classroom

Examples of effective practices:

  • seeks to make connections with living and learning communities
  • applies academic learning in university contexts outside the classroom
  • helps students connect their academic learning to the world outside the classroom
  • encourages students to be life-long learners

Principle 7. Reflects on, monitors and improves teaching philosophy and practices

Examples of effective practices:

  • improves teaching through self-reflection and periodic peer and student feedback
  • regularly revises and updates course content, format and assignments
  • regularly revises and updates teaching methods and use of technologies
  • enhances teaching by participating in professional development activities

Principle 8.Integrates teaching and learning with research, scholarship, and creative activities

Examples of effective practices:

         uses student learning experiences to stimulate research, scholarship and creative activities

         uses research, scholarship and creative activities to enhance teaching and to foster student research

         uses research, scholarship or creative activities to constantly renew and energize student learning

         involves students in faculty research, scholarship and creative activities and gives students appropriate recognition

         collaborates with library faculty to help students develop the skills to locate, evaluate, and use information resources



In accepting these principles the Faculty Senate recognizes that the inventory of effective practices listed above should be dynamic and reflect changes in pedagogy.It therefore authorizes the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to make changes in these lists as the Executive Committee sees appropriate.


Based on a similar set of principles developed at the University of British Columbia (