Research Foci: Inquiry Design, STEM Education, Situational and Individual Interest Development, Science Fiction, Qualitative Methods

Bruce DuBoff, Ph.D. 

Rutgers University SC&I, LIS Focus, 

Graduated October 1, 2023 

Advisor & Committee Chair: Dr. Rebecca Reynolds

Bruce DuBoff CV 2024 Spring.docx

Philosophy of Teaching 

Teaching Philosophy--Bruce R. DuBoff, Ph.D.

February 2024

The combination of a Penn State English/Writing Option degree, 27 years of teaching and librarianship in grades 4-12, leadership positions such as the presidency of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians and the AECT-TIL division, rigorous Ph.D. study and research at an R1 institution, including serving as the 2020 Collier-Kuhlthau Fellow, and my current position as an Adjunct Instructor for Camden County College in southern New Jersey, provides a rich tapestry of resources from which to form a philosophy of instruction.

First and foremost, as an urban and semi-urban, English teacher and school librarian, I recognize and appreciate the importance of developing commonalities with students as a precursor to learning, especially in urban environments. Post-COVID students need more than expertise from their professors; they need a helping hand, an understanding ear, and mutual respect from day one. They need opportunities to succeed and genuine effort from their professors to guide them on that road. Most importantly, they need to build the intellectual context they lost over two years, and I recognize and embrace that mission.  

Based upon my research of the arc of Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process, the development of Hidi & Renninger’s Four Phases of Interest Development, the concepts of control and autonomy in Ryan & Deci’s Self-Determination Theory, and the pedagogical realization of Guided Inquiry Design, I believe that interest and engagement drive student-centered instruction, and that learning is a multi-medium process comprising cognitive, affective, and behavioral elements (Kuhlthau, 1991), as well as social connotations. Scaffolding is the glue that binds new learning onto previously held information (Reiser & Tabak, 2014). Triggering interest and engagement with dynamic and thought-provoking content and activities is the foundation of classroom learning. Maintaining triggers throughout the learning experience is necessary and needed (Renninger & Hidi, 2016); that is the challenge many teachers simply do not acknowledge or appreciate. Also, students can only become interested if their affect is positive, so feelings and emotions are an important element of learning.

Instructional design, long kept secret and forbidden to practitioners, is most effective when used in collaboration with all stakeholders, especially students. Design-Based Research (Barab, 2014) can be taught to and utilized by the entire, inclusive community of practice, maintaining high efficacy through reflection and reiteration, enacting design changes that better produce desired outputs and outcomes. Now, as an instructional designer, I see the educational power of identifying and influencing student interest, engagement and performance. I wish to turnkey that knowledge to students and future practitioners.