Educational research should be at the forefront for all faculty, independent of subject taught, degree or level of education. Educational research can provide information on how our students learn and how we can be more effective teachers. Best practices for teaching methodology, delivery and assessment arekey to our success in the academic environment. Outcomes assessment along with the dissemination of information (publication) should be a goal for all faculty. How do faculty and administrators make curricular changes in education? Are decisions based on trying something new, trying to be different, and opinions or are changes driven by well-designed educational research? Evidence-based teaching is not a new concept and should drive the decision making in academia. In some circles, educational research has not been considered as important or necessary as basic research or clinical research. This may be secondary to prestige, incentives and funding sources. There is also the misguided notion that expertise in a subject translates to the ability to teach the material. Educational research can help educators be successful. Additionally, it can have a major impact in the professions of optometry and academia.
ASCO is pleased to support educational research by offering Educational Starter Grants. The Educational Starter Grants support short term projects that help faculty get involved with educational research. This is a great way to learn more about your student’s learning and your teaching. Several grants have been awarded since 2011. I encourage all faculty to consider applying for an Educational Starter Grant this year.