Bob Rutter

Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Professor of Education 

B.A., Lawrence University 
M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison 
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Programs: Education

I approach the classroom less as an expert than as a mentor. Because my job is to prepare prospective teachers, I am automatically a model for their future practice. I feel the pressure of their scrutiny every day. I draw on my expertise primarily to formulate and present the questions, insights and frameworks that define our craft, but I resist the temptation to offer definitive answers.

I present issues as problematics and encourage students to think out loud and to take risks. I encourage them to assume the role of professional educator and to consider carefully the implications of their conclusions. To empower future professionals is my first and most important obligation.

Because I believe that effective teachers are reflective teachers, I try to model reflection. My daily challenge is to publicly engage in that reflective process with the same level of wonder and enthusiasm as the first time I encountered the issue. Fortunately, the kinds of questions that define our field are not readily resolved and my enthusiasm is inevitably buoyed by the fact that there are always new insights and understandings to be gleaned. I like the fact that I learn while I teach.

For me, teaching is not merely telling. Rather, teaching is a process during which knowledge is created and meaning is revealed. Defined this way, teaching and learning have much in common. Both are processes, both entail the construction of knowledge and both ascribe meaning. If my class is functioning the way I want it to, teaching and learning are simultaneous and entwined.

EDUC 303 Social Studies Methods for Middle/High School 
EDUC 621 Research and Inquiry in Education Reform 
EDUC 631 Advocacy in Education