Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perceptions of faculty development practices and structures that influence teaching at high performance colleges and universities
by Bates, Barbara A., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2010, 232; 3441277
Abstract (Summary)

Perceptions of faculty development practices and structures were compared between 13 high performing schools identified in the DEEP study (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt, 2005) to clarify the relationship between faculty development variables and effective teaching. A phenomenological design was employed to triangulate quantitative and qualitative data including faculty development director surveys, interviews, administrator surveys, and faculty development program websites. The data provided a framework to compare similarities and differences among schools and the related faculty development literature.

Analysis of the director interviews revealed the practices and structures of their programs and activities. The results included descriptions of themselves, their programs, their institution, and their perceptions of how the faculty development program impacted effective teaching.

A different set of faculty development directors from the same DEEP cohort, participated in a survey that asked them to rate their use of specific faculty development practices and structures. Administrators of the participating interviewees completed a survey that asked for the degree of administrative support for faculty development, their perceptions of the effectiveness of the faculty development program on their campus, their attitudes about effective teaching, and their perceptions of the factors that helped promote effective teaching on their campus.

Faculty development director reports from surveys and interviews were compared and contrasted within this cohort and to best practices literature. Results indicated that elements of the faculty development variables included activities and programs, accountability practices, goals, institutional communication, reporting structure, the location of the faculty development office, faculty involvement, and relationships between the faculty development program and other institutional units.

The faculty development variables that emerged from these data perceived to be most relevant to success included: extensive use of accountability measures; strong involvement of faculty in the planning and deployment of faculty development programs and activities; strong and mutually supportive relationships among faculty, faculty developers, and administration; establishment of priority faculty development goals for student success and improvement of campus climate for effective teaching.

While the initial theoretical framework focused on how faculty developers affected faculty and facilitated their effective approaches to teaching, results of this dissertation point to a more complex interdependent set of relationships that together impacted effective teaching approaches. Faculty developers and faculty worked together in symbiotic relationships to construct a climate of respect for teaching and teaching excellence that resulted in more effective teaching and learning opportunities at these high performing schools. These high performing schools serve as a model of how the symbiotic relationship of administration, faculty and faculty developers influenced and were influenced by each other. Working together they created an institutional climate that welcomed and supported efforts toward change and toward effective educational practices at high performing schools.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stevens, Ellen
School: University of Colorado at Denver
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education, Higher education
Keywords: Best practices, Faculty development, High-performance higher education, Higher education
Publication Number: 3441277
ISBN: 978-1-124-44916-6
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