Most beginning college professors in the United States receive little if any help in the important task of learning how to teach well. Occasionally, a colleague or department chairman can provide some guidance, but in general most American college faculty are taught how to teach by the “sink or swim” method. There are many resources that can help the new professor swim, rather than sink, but in my case at least, I found out about them many years after I needed them the most. This paper will identify some of the literature, journals, and on-campus facilities that can help both new and experienced faculty members develop and hone teaching skills.
The literature on teaching and learning is vast. Fortunately, the new teacher need not spend years becoming an expert on this literature; much of it is like the astronomical research literature in that it is full of jargon and it requires some expertise to distill useful, easily implementable ideas from it. Fortunately, there are a few (too few!) books that distill this vast literature into practical advice from it.