Pencils down! Congratulations on completing yet another academic year. We hope your summer is filled with less grading, fewer emails and more time for yourself. If you’re looking for inspiration to dial up engagement and inclusivity next semester, look no further. We’ve put together our annual reading list that surfaces our top reads from higher ed’s most esteemed leaders. You can also check out our 2023 summer reading list for more teaching inspiration.

1. Failing Our Future: How Grades Harm Students, and What We Can Do About It (2024)

By: Joshua Eyler

Does passing a high-stakes exam signal superiority or subject mastery? Dr. Joshua Eyler, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Mississippi, doesn’t believe so. Rather than obsess over grades, Eyler sounds the alarm bell given the social, emotional and psychological harm grades put on students. In his latest book, he spotlights grading reform efforts institutional leaders will want to take note of, while remaining optimistic about the future of academic assignments.

This book is perfect for educators and policymakers looking to maintain equity during the grading process. Preorder the book here.

2. A Teacher’s Guide to Learning Student Names (2024)

By: Michelle Miller

Learning names isn’t a nice to have: it’s proven to help students feel more accountable, boosts comfort when seeking help and increases overall course satisfaction. Dr. Michelle Miller, Professor of Psychological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, advocates for learning student names early in the term. In her latest book, she draws on decades of research and experience as a leader in psychology to offer strategies to break down walls between students and educators. She aims to leave all readers with research-backed advice to learn names—even in large introductory courses.

This book is perfect for educators who want to incorporate science-based methods to improve a sense of belonging in the classroom. Preorder her book here. You can also hear more from Miller in our on-demand virtual event where she offers strategies to improve attention and memory in any course.

3. Teaching with AI: A Practical Guide to a New Era of Human Learning (2024)

By: José Antonio Bowen and C. Edward Watson

AI has forced educators to reconsider the ways in which we engage, assess and interact with students. But as Dr. José Antonio Bowen, author and former president of Goucher College, and Dr. C. Edward Watson, Associate Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation at the American Association of Colleges and Universities, argue, AI will only better equip students for their future jobs. In their latest book, the scholars present powerful research on the impact AI has already had in the classroom and the boardroom. Outlining steps to address academic integrity concerns and skill building, the authors answer pressing questions on every educator’s mind around how to effectively teach in an AI era.

This book is perfect for instructors looking to sharpen twenty-first century skills students will need in the workforce. Preorder the book now. Get more strategies on how to reduce the incentive to cheat in our AI age by watching our on-demand talk with Dr. James Lang, professor and award-winning author of Small Teaching.

4. A Pedagogy of Kindness (2024)

By: Catherine Denial

Unfortunately, wellbeing isn’t always woven in the fabric of institutional policies. Dr. Catherine Denial, Bright Distinguished Professor of American History at Knox College, believes that needs to change. In Denial’s latest book, she offers evidence-based tools for faculty to advance care and compassion in the classroom. Part manifesto, part teaching memoir and part how-to guide, Denial’s goal is to leave educators with strategies to effectively redesign syllabi, assignments and frameworks for measuring performance—all while putting empathy front and center.

This book is perfect for professors hoping to create trust and belonging among students. Preorder the book today.

5. Enhancing Inclusive Instruction: Student Perspective and Practical Approaches for Advancing Equity in Higher Education (2024)

By: Tracie Marcella Addy, Derek Dube and Khadijah Mitchell

What does equitable teaching mean to you? Dr. Tracie Marcella Addy, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning at Lafayette College, wondered the same thing—so she asked students to find out. She packages all answers in her latest book along with tools to help educators navigate their inclusive teaching journey. Along with her co-authors, Addy shares techniques that instructors can use to collect ongoing feedback on their own efforts to close equity gaps. Even more timely, the scholars share ways to maintain a culture of inclusivity in our generative AI era.

This book is perfect for instructors who would like to form an inclusive teaching plan in partnership with their department leaders. Access the book today.

6. Undoing the Grade: Why We Grade, and How to Stop (2023)

By: Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris

Traditional assessments focus on assessment of learning, where students are put under pressure to demonstrate knowledge. But as Dr. Jesse Stommel, co-founder of the Digital Pedagogy lab, argues, assessment for learning is a far more equitable means of assessing student comprehension. In his latest book with Dr. Sean Michael Morris, CAO at CourseHero, the leaders remind educators to critically examine the roles that letter grades have on student motivation and engagement. Rather than throw grades out the window altogether, Stommel and Morris present techniques to help faculty pause and reflect on their current assessment policies and instead refine assessment guidelines with wellbeing and equity in mind.

This book is perfect for faculty looking to redesign their grading rubrics to boost equity and engagement. Get the book here and enjoy more alternative grading techniques from Stommel in our on-demand talk.

7. Creating Engaging Discussions: Strategies for “Avoiding Crickets” In Any Size Classroom and Online (2018)

By: Linda Nilson and Jennifer Herman

How often do you pose a question in class only to be met with total silence? Dr. Linda Nilson, founding director emeritus of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University and Dr. Jennifer Herman, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Simmons College, present practical solutions to reduce awkward silence in class. Through eight compelling case studies, the authors highlight techniques including writing prompts and jigsaw formats that educators can put to use right away. All activities are designed for undergraduate and undergraduate students alike and can be used in face to face, hybrid or online courses.

This book is perfect for faculty looking to get more students talking during class. Purchase the book here.

8. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (2016)

By: Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald

We all hold blindspots—or hidden biases for how we view age, gender, race, ethnicity and social class among other traits. In this New York Times bestselling book, social psychologists Dr. Mahzarin Banaji and Dr. Anthony Greenwald use the Implicit Association Test to help readers come to terms with their own biases. Perfect for any educator looking to improve classroom equity, the book features exercises to help expose prejudices that may indirectly impact daily life—such as grading or calling on students during a class activity. In their practical book, the authors extend an invitation to better understand one’s own mind.

This book is perfect for those interested in using social psychology to shape the culture of any classroom. Get the book here.

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