During fall semester 2008, the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP) looked at the history of the practice of team-teaching at Bowdoin, focusing on those courses which have been, or presently are, team-taught, enrollment patterns, teaching credit, compensation mechanisms, and practices at peer institutions.
In 2003 and 2004, CEP called for proposals to create interdisciplinary, team-taught courses. At that time, it was envisaged that an initial offering of a team-taught course would count as a “whole course” in the teaching load of each faculty member participating, and that the courses “should appeal to a significant number of students” (i.e., they were not to be “framed as a seminar for ten or fewer students”). It was further anticipated that subsequent offerings of the typical team-taught course would count for a half-course in the normal teaching load for each of the faculty members involved, with an alternation of who received “credit” for the course.
In the intervening years, several important changes occurred at the College: the faculty grew, especially with the provision of new lines in interdisciplinary programs; majors were reshaped; and a new set of general requirements were introduced to the curriculum, to name just a few examples. During this period of change, some team-taught courses became regular parts of course rotations while others were approved on an ad hoc basis for first time offerings, with a variety of understandings at the department and program level about how such courses should count in the teaching loads of individual faculty members for subsequent offerings of such courses. A consensus also emerged that when done well, team-taught courses, while gratifying, are often more work than teaching a course individually.