Book Reviews

Book by Marilla D. Svinicki and Catherine M. Wehlburg
Review by:  Patrick Morton
Academic Advisor
Round Rock Higher Education Center
Texas State University


Take a brief moment and think about the changes in last 30 years. Think about the advances in technology; ponder the changes in fashion. Look at world leadership changes or just run through the list of U.S. presidents since 1980. There wasn’t even a People Magazine “Sexiest Man Alive” until 1985 (Mel Gibson by the way, oh how times have changed!). Now think about the changes that have taken place in education. Think about how students learn now compared to then; think about the differences and similarities. What does it mean to teach and be taught in today’s classroom?  

The Fall 2010 issue of New Directions in Teaching and Learning provides a comprehensive look at some of the large changes in education over the past 30 years. This issue introduces new series editor Catherine Wehlburg who provides readers with perspective on the major issues within teaching and learning over the series’ 30-year existence.  This issue opens with an article that focuses on the history of the series (by former editor Marilla Svinicki) and closes with an article that describes the directions and topics that will be addressed in the future (Wehlburg). The intervening eight chapters focus on such educational topics as learning communities, technology, community-based learning, assessment, double-loop learning, scholarship of teaching and learning, self-regulated learning and evaluation. 

One of values of this issue is that it provides discussion of educational topics without getting bogged down in theory and jargon; authors are successful at making this readable to those without an advanced degree in Education.  The chapters included vary in style as much as they vary in topics. Some articles read like a chronological history of a topic while others serve as an introductory primer that provides an overview of the trends in moderate detail.  For those of us old enough to remember the innovation colored chalk brought to the classroom, Kuhlenschmidt and Kacer’s article “The Promise of Technology for College Instruction: From Drill and Practice to Avatars” is a rewarding and insightful look through the past to the classroom of modern day, and is fun to boot. 

For the average academic advisor, the entire volume is a useful reference of educational trends and helps readers understand what is happening in the classes we advise our students to take. This volume is particularly useful to the academic advisor interested in research as a map of current and important new ideas in teaching and learning; it offers burgeoning researchers enough names and articles to jumpstart a variety of research projects. 

Academic advising has adapted well to the technological advances of the past 30 years but it is intriguing to think about how much these new directions in teaching have shaped the future of our field; the application of theories of self-regulation and learning communities to advising are particularly interesting and are worthy of further investigation and application.


Landmark Issues in Teaching and Learning:  A Look Back at New Directions for Teaching and Learning (New Directions for Teaching and Learning #123). (2010). Book by Marilla D. Svinicki and Catherine M. Wehlburg, (Eds.). Review by Patrick Morton. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 128 pp. $29.00. ISBN 978-0-470-90575-3
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