This study examines the effectiveness of faculty learning communities in one institution of higher education. Specifically, the study examined the changes in teaching methodology, epistemology, scholarship and service made by faculty members who participated in a year-long faculty learning community initiative. It also examined the role of the faculty learning community as a structure that helps to facilitate those changes.
The study used survey research and qualitative techniques. All thirty-nine members of the faculty learning community initiative were surveyed to determine their perspective on the role of the learning community in their academic career. Ninety-two percent of the respondents report the learning community experience was moderately to highly useful in their academic careers. Seventy-nine percent reported a great to moderate amount of change in their teaching methods. Eighty-seven percent reported a change in their epistemological beliefs. Seventy-nine percent reported scholarship and 62 % reported service activities directly linked to the faculty learning community experience.
Seven faculty members were followed to determine the extent of changes that were made in teaching, service, and scholarship. The participants were interviewed, were observed in their classrooms, and had their syllabi examined for evidence of change. Six of the seven participants made changes in their teaching methods that paralleled the pedagogy studied in their learning community. Six of the seven participants also showed increases in service and scholarship directly related to their faculty learning community experience. In all cases, the scholarship was the scholarship of teaching and learning rather than disciplinary scholarship. All seven participants reported the learning community was vital to making changes. The learning community provided moral support and shared ideas and procedures. None of the seven participants appeared to have changed their epistemological beliefs because of their faculty learning community experience, a finding very different from the survey results.
|School:||University of Cincinnati|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Faculty development, Faculty learning communities, Higher education, Professional organization development, Teaching improvement programs|
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