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The New College Classroom

Cathy N. Davidson, Christina Katopodis

ISBN 9780674248854

Publication date: 08/30/2022

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What the latest science of learning tells us about inspiring, effective, and inclusive teaching at the college level.

College instruction is stuck in the past. If a time traveler from a century ago arrived on today’s campuses, they would recognize only too well the listlessness of the lecture hall and the awkward silence of the seminar room. Yet we know how to do better. Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis, two of the world’s foremost innovators in higher education, turn to the latest research and methods to show how teachers at every kind of institution can help students become independent, creative, and active learners.

The New College Classroom helps instructors in all disciplines create an environment that is truly conducive to learning. Davidson and Katopodis translate cutting-edge research in learning science and pedagogy into ready-to-use strategies to incorporate into any course. These empirically driven, classroom-tested techniques of active learning—from the participatory syllabus and ungrading to grab-and-go activities for every day of the term—have achieved impressive results at community colleges and research universities, on campus, online, and in hybrid settings.

Extensive evidence shows that active-learning tools are more effective than conventional methods of instruction. Davidson and Katopodis explain how and why their approach works and provide detailed case studies of educators successfully applying active-learning techniques in their courses every day, ensuring that their students are better prepared for the world after college.


  • Offers a wealth of examples of how to make lecture classes less listless and seminars less silent, while making students into more independent, creative and active learners…An ideal guide to innovative ways to facilitate and deepen student learning. Everyone who teaches (or hopes to teach) college, will find this book a provocative and stimulating source of ideas about how to make our classrooms more equitable, participatory and interactive.

    —Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed


  • 2023, Winner of the Frederic W. Ness Book Award


  • Cathy N. Davidson has published more than twenty books, including The New Education and Now You See It. She is the Senior Advisor on Transformation to the Chancellor at the City University of New York and a Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center. She served on the National Council on the Humanities and has twice keynoted the Nobel Prize Forum on the Future of Education.
  • Christina Katopodis is a Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate at the CUNY Humanities Alliance and has authored or coauthored over a dozen articles on innovative pedagogy, environmental studies, and American literature. She has received the Dewey Digital Teaching Award and the Diana Colbert Innovative Teaching Prize.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 1-1/8 x 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press