Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Faculty and administrator perceptions of teaching, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and culture at a teaching university
by Bartling, Jonathan D., Ph.D., Capella University, 2009, 336; 3344920
Abstract (Summary)

Despite increased calls in higher education for institutions to be accountable for quality teaching and student learning, at many institutions, the status and quality of teaching and learning has not improved. Many faculty members remain teaching-focused, and institutions often afford a low status to teaching. This is present even at institutions whose missions are teaching-focused. The purpose of this case study was to explore faculty and administrator perceptions at one private, Christian, Midwest teaching institution regarding teaching, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the institution’s culture and commitment to teaching and scholarship. Through interviews with a purposeful sample of full-time faculty, document analysis, the administration of Trigwell et al.’s (2005) revised Approaches to Teaching Inventory, and through faculty and administrator focus groups, the study provided a rich, thick description of participant perceptions of a teaching institution in the 21st century.

Findings from this primarily qualitative study were focused in four areas. First, nine influences on faculty approach to teaching were identified, including the strong influence of institutional context on faculty teaching approach. Secondly, multiple conceptions of the scholarship of teaching were identified, demonstrating a continued need for faculty and administrators to be educated in the possibility and practice of the scholarship of teaching model. A possible relationship was noted, however, between faculty conceptions of teaching and their interest in professional development and scholarship of teaching activities. Third, faculty and administrators held similar perceptions of teaching and scholarship despite a disparity between these groups found in the literature. Where differences were present, they existed between administrator perceptions and university policy and procedures. Finally, participants described an environment that was generally supportive of teaching and the scholarship of teaching, but felt the institution’s teaching focus did not translate into an intentional commitment to quality teaching and teaching improvement through both policy and practice.

Recommendations for future research include needed studies on the influence of institutional context on faculty approach to teaching and learning, the relationship between conceptions of teaching and engagement in professional development and scholarship of teaching activities, and further exploration of the study’s findings within other institutional contexts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Welstead, Callie R.
Commitee: Englesberg, Paul, Marin, Patricia M.
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Teacher education, Higher education
Keywords: Administrators, Conception of teaching, Culture, Development, Faculty, Perceptions, Scholarship, Scholarship of teaching, Teaching
Publication Number: 3344920
ISBN: 978-1-109-04964-0
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