Adding an 8th Principle 

to Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Workshop Activity & Discussion Questions  

Consider the "8th Principle"

The "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" (Chickering & Gamson, 1987) were built on a solid base of research and practice.  The TLT Group does not propose to extend those Principles formally in our online activities in 2015.  However, we encourage thought and discussion about what might usefully be added.  We hope to accumulate a variety of these "8th Principles" and to identify technology resources that support them.  The resulting compilation could become a useful resource.  

You are invited to add your own suggestion for an 8th Principle here:

(If you prefer, you may first review the original 7, some thought-provoking questions, and some related examples below.)

Summary & List of "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education"

See also (2 important publications)

  • "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education," Chickering, Arthur W. and Gamson, Zelda F., American Association for Higher Education, Washington, D.C., Sponsoring Agency: Education Commission of the States, Denver, Colo., Mar 87, 6pp. Also: AAHE Bulletin; p3-7 Mar 1987 Full text available from ERIC March 3, 2015.
  • "Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever," Arthur Chickering and Stephen C. Ehrmann, AAHE Bulletin, October, (1996), pp. 3-6.

  • First paragraphs from original publication (Chickering, Gamson 1987):

    “Apathetic students, illiterate graduates, incompetent teaching, impersonal campuses--so rolls the drumfire of criticism of higher education. More than two years of reports have spelled out the problems. States have been quick to respond by holding out carrots and beating with sticks. 

    “There are neither enough carrots nor enough sticks to improve undergraduate education without the commitment and action of students and faculty members. They are the precious resources on whom the improvement of undergraduate education depends. 

    “But how can students and faculty members improve undergraduate education? Many campuses around the country are asking this question. To provide a focus for their work, we offer seven principles based on research on good teaching and learning in colleges and universities.

    "Good practice in undergraduate education:

    1. Encourages contacts between students and faculty.
    2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
    3. Uses active learning techniques.
    4. Gives prompt feedback.
    5. Emphasizes time on task.
    6. Communicates high expectations.
    7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

    Most important to you? 

    Which of the Seven Principles is most important to you?   Why?

    Questions for Reflection and Discussion

    Add an 8th Principle?  Which one?   Why?

    What, if anything, do we need to add to make the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education:
    • More applicable to the conditions and situations most relevant for your institution?  

    • More helpful to you and your colleagues?  

    • More applicable to your own experience and values?

    Other Useful Discussion Questions

    1. Being Elevated by the Seven Principles? Can anyone take the Seven Principles seriously WITHOUT being led toward larger issues?  How do any of these Seven Principles connect to other, larger issues?  

    2. Historical Context? How were the Seven Principles (developed in the 1980s/1990s) shaped by their historical context?  How have conditions changed so that the Seven Principles need to be revised?  How do they still apply?  

    3. Research Supporting Seven Principles?  What kinds of research supported the identification of these seven principles? Is there any one place to go to see the citations of the research behind each of the seven principles? 

    4. Challenge:  Awareness, Use?  Why do so few people in higher education seem to have heard of these Seven Principles?  To what extent were these principles accepted?  Embraced?  Implemented?  Is their work done?   Is there anything that has superseded the Seven Principles?     

    5. Connecting Seven Principles with…? To what extent are the Seven Principles useful not only in your work with courses in higher education, but also within other activities on campus?  Off campus?  In what ways do the Seven Principles relate to Service Learning?  

    Examples of "8th Principles"

    Possibilities that have already been suggested by some participant in an 8th Principle workshop 

    • Caring
      In what ways is “caring” already part of the Seven Principles? 
      Should "caring" be more explicitly and prominently included?
      Consider faculty caring about students; faculty caring about ideas and knowledge; faculty caring about their colleagues; as well as students caring about faculty; students caring about ideas and knowledge; students caring about each other…. Academic support professionals caring enough, but not too much about helping faculty improve their teaching and their students’ learning!

    • Learning by Teaching
      Almost everyone who has ever taught another person anything - formally or informally - eventually notices that doing so is one of the most powerful, effective ways to learn. 
       Almost anyone who prepares for and then engages in teaching other(s) learns more than the students, learns more than he/she had previously learned about that topic.  So, it is surprising how few discussions of pedagogy include "learning by teaching" as an effective strategy option.  Shouldn't it be? What are some tactics for increasing options for "Learning by Teaching" in traditional courses?  In very large enrollment courses?  When using various combinations of face-to-face and online communications?  Do some of the 7 Principles reflect or support "Learning by Teaching" better than others?  Or is "Learning by Teaching" in a completely different category from the 7 Ps?

    • Differences Among Individuals (Learners, Teachers, ... )
      In what ways is acknowledgement of this kind of diversity already part of the Seven Principles? 
      Should it be more explicitly and prominently included?
      Can or should all teachers, all faculty members apply each of the 7 Principles equally? 
      Even when teaching the similar courses to similar groups of students, can or should teachers apply the 7 Principles in the same ways?
      Are there ways of being a good teacher that seem to be overlooked by the 7 Principles?

    • Meta-Cognition:  Reflective Thinking about Learning (and Thinking, and Teaching)
      In what ways is “reflective thinking about learning” already part of the Seven Principles? 
      Should "reflective thinking about learning" be more explicitly and prominently included?
      Doug Eder, then at Arizona State University: "...e-learning provides a special, if not unique, opportunity for students to reflect on what they have learned and how they learned it. The asynchronous nature of e-courses provides this special opportunity and, coincidentally, I do not see provision for reflective thinking displayed in the original Seven Principles." e-mail message to Steve Gilbert et al. 4/5/2007

    Even More Examples (Click here) 

    The TLT Group helps people in educational institutions to improve teaching and learning by making more appropriate and cost-effective use of information technology without sacrificing what matters most to them.

    PO Box 5643
    Takoma Park, Maryland 20913
    : 301.270.8312  Fax: 301.270.8110
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    Subpages (2): 8thPtable Examples