Ken Bain, Vice Provost for Instruction, Montclair State University
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This profile was last updated on 3/27/13 and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.
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Vice Provost for Instruction

Phone: (973) ***-****  HQ Phone
Montclair State University
One Normal Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey 07043
United States

Company Description: Montclair State University offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate programs to a highly diverse population of 18,500 students in an expansive...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Co-Chief Executive Officer
    Best Teachers LLC


  • Ph.d. , History
    University of Texas at Austin
156 Total References
Web References
In stories both humorous and touching, ..., 1 Mar 2013 [cached]
In stories both humorous and touching, Bain describes examples of ingenuity and compassion, of students' discoveries of new ideas and the depth of their own potential. What the Best College Teachers Do is a treasure trove of insight and inspiration for first-year teachers and seasoned educators.
Product Details:
Author: Ken Bain
Ken Bain has written precisely the sort of book I wish someone had shared with me during my graduate school days. Like many of my colleagues, I was left to my own devices inside the college classroom. My solution was to emulate those professors I respected as a student. Other than a few days of preparation in 1990, I never had any sort of systematic training about good classroom performance or how students learn.
Ken Bain, Director for the Center of Teaching Excellence at New York University, has provided a valuable resource for all of us in a similar situation.
Ken Bain tells a good story in each chapter and uses both his experiential base and the literature to bolster his conclusions.
Bain advises college teachers to orient their teaching to the students in the room.
What if everything Bain says is actually true? What would that say about the American college student? His advice makes the student sound like a fragile creature who's got to be seduced into an interest in anything outside of himself.
For example, Bain says professors shouldn't use the word "requirements" on the syllabus. They should promise students specific valuable things, but never demand. In fact, he seems to say that the exact way grades are computed shouldn't be stated. What would happen if there were clear and straightforward demands? Would students crumble?
The huge emphasis Bain puts on connecting course material to a student's personal concerns makes me wonder what would happen if a professor got up and talked about... the civil war ...computers ...botany. Can't teachers count on the inherent interest of anything?
The advice in the book frequently ignores real world teaching problems. Bain is very positive about take home exams, thinking it's silly to pass up their advantages because of worries about cheating. But these worries are serious.
He's very positive about the idea that every exam should be cumulative, with only the last one counting.
Bain identified a number of teachers who made a meaningful impact on student lives. He and his team followed up to ask, "What makes them so great?"
And he has answers.
Bain also ignores institutional pressures on faculty.
As Bain says, high grades can also reflect high learning -- but just try and prove it.
I've also been in environments where students were expected to get A's -- a B-plus was the closest to a failing grade. Students who genuinely wanted to learn were frustrated by whiny, do-nothing classmates who could hardly provide a stimulating classroom conducive to learning.
Most important Bain dismisses evaluations. but in reality, nearly every professor will live or die by student opinion.
In Chapter 2, Bain cites studies showing that students don't change beliefs readily. I think he's right.
Bain's is a book about student control, authenticity, caring, deep learning, involvement, meaning, collaboration, positive expectations, trust, take-home exams, students teaching one another, higher order thinking skills...
By contrast, Bain never considers what happens when well-meaning teachers take his concepts to excess. (And they/we certainly do.)
The book does not address certain concepts vital to teaching and learning, and I miss them -- such as willpower, setting priorities, managing time, developing and improving skills, practice and repetition, hard work, relentless effort, self-sacrifice, commitment to excellence, competition based on achievement, professionalism, responsibility, internalizing values, gaining content knowledge, self-discipline, ethics, and self-directed learning skills in the sense of Knowles.
Part of the reason seems to be acceptance by Bain and the teachers studied of the concept of Higher Order Thinking Skills, developed from Bloom's cognitive taxonomy. First of all, the HOTS idea devalues its foundation -- content knowledge through comprehension and recall. Second, the cognitive taxonomy rests invisibly upon the taxonomy of affective skills, less known, more important. That's about commitment, participation, and the disciplined internalization of values -- more or less "professionalism."
Four-fifths of the teachers studied for this book came from rather elite institutions ("research institutions"), and even though Bain claims these concepts work well anywhere, I'm not convinced.
This is a review of What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain.
Bain, the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at NYU, did a study of outstanding college-level teachers.
Bain wanted to find out what such outstanding teachers had in common. The basic lesson he arrived at is easy to formulate (although challenging to implement).
In the chapter on how outstanding teacher conduct classes, Bain identifies the five elements of what he calls a "natural critical learning environment": (1) start with some question that students will find intriguing, (2) help the students to see why this question is important, (3) encourage the students to think actively and critically, rather than just listening and remembering, (4) guide the students to working out an answer, and (5) leave the student with further questions.
Bain charitably concludes that students have simply gotten very good at accurately determining who will or will not turn out to be a good teacher. Well, perhaps.
schedule03-04 [cached]
February 22- Kenneth R. Bain: Issues in Education: Racism Without Prejudice? How can we create a just educational environment based on the principles of equality of opportunity? This talk will touch on issues of standardized testing, achievement gaps, institutional injustices, and whether one can be a racist without being prejudiced. Professor Bain is founding director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at New York University. Prior to moving to NYU in the fall of 2001, he was founding director of the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence and a professor of history at Northwestern University. He went to Northwestern from the history faculty at Vanderbilt University in 1992, where he was also founding director of the Center for Teaching in the College of Arts and Science. In the 1970's and early 80's he was professor of history at the University of Texas in Edinburg, where he also served as director of that school's University Honors College. From 1984 to 1986, he served as director of the National History Teaching Center. His scholarship centers on the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East (principal works include The March to Zion: United States Policy and the Founding of Israel, 1980, 2000), but he has long taken an interest in teaching and learning issues. Internationally recognized for his insights into university teaching and learning and for a fifteen-year study of what the best educators do, he has presented invited workshops at more than seventy-five universities in recent years--in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His learning research has concentrated on undergraduate (all fields), graduate management, and medical education. He has received awards from the Harry S Truman Library, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the International Studies Association, among others. He is currently completing his third book on U.S. relations with the Middle East (The Last Journey Home: Franklin Roosevelt and the Middle East) and a book on the teaching of history with Peter Filene. He recently finished a book on the evaluation and improvement of college and university teaching (What the Best College Teachers Do: A Fifteen-Year Study of the Thinking and Practices of Highly Successful University Educators. Harvard University Press, 2004). He has won four major teaching awards, including a teacher-of-the-year award in 1968, faculty nomination for the Minnie Piper Foundation Award for outstanding college teacher in Texas in 1980 and 1981, and Honors Professor of the Year Awards in 1985 and 1986.
Ken Bain: Deep Learning: ..., 9 Sept 2014 [cached]
Ken Bain: Deep Learning: Pursuing Questions that Are Important, Intriguing, or Just Beautiful
Ken Bain is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of the District of Columbia and a Professor of History and Urban Education. He is an acclaimed educator who has lectured at over 300 universities and founded and directed four major teaching and learning centers. In this PIL interview, we talked to Ken about his latest book, What the Best College Students Do (Harvard University Press, 2012) and "reframing the very nature of education. (Interview posted: October 10, 2012)
Ken Bain Almost a decade ago, Ken Bain conducted a bushel of interviews in which he inquired into what makes college teachers great. The resulting book, What the Best College Teachers Do quickly became required reading for anyone who has ever set foot in a college classroom. It also ended up rocking educational circles, winning numerous awards, and being translated into 12 languages.
At the time, Publishers' Weekly wrote, "Bain's sound and scholarly yet exuberant promotion of America's 'best college teachers' abounds with jaunty anecdotes and inspiring opinions that make student-centered instruction look not only infectious, but downright imperative."
Now, Ken Bain is back. In his latest book, What the Best College Students Do, he conducted over 100 interviews with remarkable lifelong learners, such as Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He had them talk about how they put grades aside and used their college experience to nurture the intellectual curiosity that had always been a part of who they were. As a result, they became deep learners and went on to lead purposeful lives.
We interviewed Ken in October 2012. We discussed some of Project Information Literacy's (PIL) latest findings. We also asked Ken how educators can foster deep learning in college students today, especially when they are conducting research and finding answers for use throughout their lives.
Ken: I think this phrase means that people learn deeply by learning to think about the experiences that they have, to compare them with other experiences, frame them in multiple ways, question them, ask what they mean and what implications they have.
Ken: What matters most is learning deeply, thinking about implications and applications, and expanding the powers of one's mind.
Ken: Messy problems are difficult for anyone.
Ken: Yes, this is a major problem in higher education, but a predictable outcome, given the way we often treat "research" projects on the undergraduate level in particular.
Ken: Reading is the way to explore other people's ideas, and through that exploration to make them your own.
No permission for use is required from PIL to share this interview, though we ask that this source be cited as Project Information Literacy Smart Talk, no. 13, Ken Bain, Deep Learning: Pursuing Questions that Are Important, Intriguing, or Just Beautiful.
Alison Head, the Executive Director and Lead Researcher at Project Information Literacy conducted this Smart Talk interview with Ken Bain over email, between August 28 and October 8, 2012. (A special thank you to Elizabeth Knoll, Executive Editor-at-Large at Harvard University Press, for her help and support with this interview.)
Academic Senate • A Dialog With Ken Bain, 26 Jan 2012 [cached]
A Dialog With Ken Bain
A Dialog With Ken Bain
Ken Bain is the author of the 2004 award-winning book, " What the Best College Teachers Do" published by Harvard University Press. Read 26-page excerpt.
Bain is Vice Provost for Instruction, Professor of History, and Director of the Teaching and Learning Resource Center at Montclair State University.
What the Best College Teachers Do (2004), by Ken Bain, relies on extensive interviews and observations of a few dozen outstanding faculty members whom Mr. Bain..."
The keynote speaker at this year's ..., 17 Feb 2011 [cached]
The keynote speaker at this year's event will be Dr. Ken Bain, Vice Provost for University Learning and Teaching, Director, Research Academy for University Learning, and Professor of History at Montclair University (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1976). Ken has been the founding director of four major teaching and learning centers, and is the author of "What the Best College Teachers Do" (Harvard University Press, 2004) which won the 2004 Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an outstanding book on education and society, and has been one of the top selling books on higher education. Ken has won four major teaching awards, including a teacher-of-the-year award, faculty nomination for the Minnie Piper Foundation Award for outstanding college teacher in Texas in 1980 and 1981, and Honors Professor of the Year Awards in 1985 and 1986.
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