How geoscience faculty learn about improving their teaching practice: Lessons from ten years of interviews

Thursday 4:30pm-5:30pm Red Gym
Poster Session


Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Recent studies about STEM faculty change strategies critique the uneven evidence of success for faculty development programs (Smith et al., 2014; Henderson, Beach, & Finkelstein, 2011). Evaluation of such programs have been censured for reliance on self-reported descriptions of teaching practice. Such descriptions are potentially inaccurate measures of actual practice (Ebert-May et al., 2011; Henderson & Dancy, 2009). However, such qualitative self-reported data may be ideally suited to interpreting a phenomena, such as how faculty learn about teaching. Qualitative research seeks to provide rich descriptions of complex circumstances collected through systematic inquiry (Patton, 2014). As part of the evaluation of the On the Cutting Edge Professional Development Program for Geoscience Faculty over 160 interviews have been conducted. The interview studies were conducted to investigate different research questions. Yet, each study shared a common mission to understand how faculty made decisions about changes in their teaching practice. This poster will provide a meta-analysis of these interview studies related to how geoscience faculty learn about teaching. These data situate attitudes about teaching and the role of trusted sources within the professional context of the faculty participant. In addition, the data provide rich descriptions for what a stance related to continuous improvement in teaching practice looks like in geoscience.