Books on College Teaching

Today, I asked Twitter to recommend favorite books on college teaching. I’m compiling a list here, so that interested parties can see the juice of the hive’s mindgrapes. Thanks, everyone—and keep sending me titles!

Update 5/13: Tweep Sherman Dorn wrote a post in response to this more general compilation (link here), in which he makes specialized recommendations of books for first-time college teachers who need tools to get started ASAP (what he calls the “get-in-it-and-drive” list). Thanks, Sherman!


Arum, Richard. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Bain, Ken. What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Boice, Robert. Advice for New Faculty Members. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

Filene, Peter G. The Joy of Teaching: a Practical Guide for New College Instructors. H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

Finkel, Donald L. Teaching with Your Mouth Shut. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 2000.

Heiland, Donna and Laura J. Rosenthal, eds. Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment. New York: The Teagle Foundation, 2011. (Available for free download at this link.)

Kohl, Herbert R. 36 Children. New York: New American Library, 1968. (Memoir of elementary teacher; suggested for general inspirational purposes)

Lang, James M. On Course: a Week-by-week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2008.

McKeachie, Wilbert James. McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. 12th ed. College Teaching Series. Belmont, Calif. : Andover: Wadsworth ; Cengage Learning [distributor], 2006.

Palmer, Parker J. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of A Teacher’s Life. 1st ed. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 1998.

Rose, Mike. Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America’s Underprepared. New York : London: Free Press ; Collier Macmillan, 1989.

VanSledright, Bruce. The Challenge of Rethinking History Education: On Practices, Theories, and Policy. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Wineburg, Samuel S. Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past. Critical Perspectives on the Past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.

Yale Graduate Teaching Center. “Teaching Controversial Subjects.” Link here. Accessed May 11, 2012.