Classic Works: Chickering and Gamson

One of the classic works in undergraduate education is Seven Principles for Good Practice In Undergraduate Education, by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson. The article begins:

Apathetic students, illiterate graduates, incompetent teaching, impersonal campuses–so rolls the drumfire of criticism of higher education.  More than two years of reports have spelled out the problems.  State have been quick to respond by holding out carrots and beating with sticks.

There are not enough carrots nor enough sticks to improve undergraduate education without the commitment and action of students and faculty members.  They are the precious resources of whom the improvement of undergraduate education depends.

Chickering and Gamson offered these seven principles “to provide a focus” for those working to improve undergraduate education.  Good practice in undergraduate education:

  1. Encourages contact between students and faculty.
  2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
  3. Uses active learning techniques.
  4. Gives prompt feedback.
  5. Emphasizes time on task.
  6. Communicates high expectations.
  7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, “Seven Principles for Good Practice In Undergraduate Education,” AAHE Bulletin (March 1987), 3-7.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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3 Replies to “Classic Works: Chickering and Gamson”

  1. This is from long ago – 1987… education has gone through many changes in that time, but each of these is still valid in a 21st century learning environment.

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