Teaching-as-Research: A Case Study

Folahan O. Ayorinde, Ph.D.

April 12, 2007

Profile

Dr. Folahan Ayorinde is an avid researcher. As a full professor in the Department of Chemistry, he holds several U.S. patents, multiple research grants, a consulting position with Colgate-Palmolive, and an enviable record of over 40 peer-reviewed publications. However, Dr. Ayorinde is also an avid teacher. He has co-authored an organic chemistry textbook, secured multiple training grants, mentored 12 Ph.D. and M.S. candidates, directed graduate studies in the Chemistry Department, and earned certification as a Writing Across the Curriculum instructor.

For Ayorinde, his roles as researcher and teacher are two sides of the same coin. That is why he now serves on the board of CIRTL, the national Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning. Like other CIRTL members, he believes that faculty can improve student learning by applying their research skills to their teaching. To explain, he cites an example from his own research “If I set up a chemical synthesis and the reaction does not work the way I planned, then I must adjust the experiment—change the temperature, use different amounts of reactants—in order to achieve my desired results. Teaching should be thought of in the same way. It is a dynamic process that must be altered to fit students’ needs. Teachers must have objectives for their courses and a plan for teaching students a skill set, but this plan must be able to change. The teaching process should be evaluated to measure instructors’ success and student learning. Thinking about teaching-as-research allows for this dynamic process to occur.” In this video, Dr. Ayorinde shows faculty how and why they should think about teaching as research.

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