Chris Takacs and Dan Chambliss are the authors of the forthcoming How College Works (Harvard, February 2014). Their work is based on an eight year long, social science based assessment study. Among other points, here they suggest research-based reasons why having a broad selection of really good intro courses is important.
More generally they suggest making sure any course that students have to take is high quality, not least because there’s no “voting with your feet” to give us feedback on these courses. This advice will, alas, fall on deaf ears because we are uncomfortable with the idea that any of our courses are not high quality. But the idea of deploying teachers strategically where they can do the best job is smart.
See also (reposted from early November on this blog)…
Inside Higher Ed piece discussing Chambliss and Takacs’s finding, in How College Works, that an inspiring encounter with a faculty member strongly influences a student’s choice of major