The biggest change I would like to see in higher education is greater emphasis on collegiate faculty at all colleges–but R1 institutes especially. I want these positions to be common, treated with the same respect as others, and to be seen as incredibly important to creating the balance between research and teaching faculty. Both are necessary, but at this point, it seems that teaching is always seen as not as great of a need.
In learning about the different ranks of professors and tenure vs. non-tenure track employment, it seems to me that increasing collegiate faculty positions is a no-brainer. Teaching, in my opinion, should always be at the forefront of education. Period. We must have good teachers to learn content.
In many college, though, especially those where research is key, the emphasis is put on research–not teaching; therefore, the teaching is compromised. Teaching should never be compromised for research. Research should never be compromised for teaching. I think there is an obvious solution here, which is that faculty should have a way to voice their strengths and weaknesses, choosing a track that will allow them to be successful. In turn, the students working with that faculty member should also be successful.
As a GTA, I love being able to get the hands-on experience teaching in higher education, but to me, this is often offered as a position so that other faculty do not have to teach certain classes; again, I want teaching to be valued more–not less.
Because of this, if collegiate faculty positions were given just as much importance, I think higher education’s trajectory could change dramatically. When instruction and content knowledge is the priority, everyone grows.