Higher education faculty have many responsibilities, with teaching as arguably the most public of those yet also the task for which many are least prepared. Professional development around teaching and learning can provide faculty with the knowledge and skills needed to improve student learning while also improving job satisfaction. The present paper describes the use of faculty learning communities as a best practice for professional development around teaching. Such communities engage a group of participants over time and provide a way to impart knowledge and resources around teaching and learning, encourage application of new skills in the classroom, and evaluate and refect on the effectiveness of those trials. Research shows that time spent in faculty learning communities translates into improvements in both teaching effectiveness and student learning. Resources are provided for administrators interested in developing and supporting faculty learning communities around teaching and learning.
Stephen M. Roth
Physical activity has long been touted as a means of reducing susceptibility to age-related disease and multiple studies have shown reduced mortality rates in individuals with a lifestyle including regular exercise. A variety of mechanisms for how physical activity reduces age-related diseases have been explored and multiple, redundant explanatory mechanisms are likely to emerge. Evidence has emerged that physical activity may impact directly on telomere biology, one of the primary theories of cellular aging. Telomeres are located at the ends of chromosomes and as cells divide, incomplete DNA replication results in telomere shortening; once shortening reaches a critical threshold, cell senescence results. Investigators hypothesize that part of the favorable influence of physical activity on mortality rates and age-related disease occurs through a direct impact on telomere biology, including delaying rates of telomere shortening. The present review examines key recent findings in this area and explores some of the unanswered questions and future directions for the field.