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Faculty Development and Student Learning

Faculty Development and Student Learning: Assessing the Connections

William Condon
Ellen R. Iverson
Cathryn A. Manduca
Carol Rutz
Gudrun Willett
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Indiana University Press
Pages: 172
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  • Book Info
    Faculty Development and Student Learning
    Book Description:

    Colleges and universities across the US have created special initiatives to promote faculty development, but to date there has been little research to determine whether such programs have an impact on students' learning. Faculty Development and Student Learning reports the results of a multi-year study undertaken by faculty at Carleton College and Washington State University to assess how students' learning is affected by faculty members' efforts to become better teachers. Extending recent research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to assessment of faculty development and its effectiveness, the authors show that faculty participation in professional development activities positively affects classroom pedagogy, student learning, and the overall culture of teaching and learning in a college or university.

    eISBN: 978-0-253-01886-1
    Subjects: Education
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword: Pathways from Faculty Learning to Student Learning and Beyond (pp. vii-xiv)
    Mary Taylor Huber

    Faculty Development and Student Learning: Assessing the Connectionsprovides a model for mapping this treacherous territory, where so many educators fear to tread. The authors, a multidisciplinary team from Carleton College, the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton, and Washington State University (WSU), trace the effects on their two campuses of initiatives that have encouraged faculty to look closely and critically at student learning as a way to improve instruction in writing, critical thinking, and quantitative reasoning. I have been privileged to serve as an advisor to the “Tracer Project” (as it is known) since 2008, joining the authors...

  4. 1 Connecting Faculty Learning to Student Learning (pp. 1-13)

    The relationship between teaching and learning is fundamental to higher education. The premise of higher education is that teaching by highly educated individuals engaged in ongoing learning of their own produces a valuable opportunity for students to learn essential knowledge and skills that will prepare them for life and career. This book’s title captures some reigning buzzwords in higher education: faculty development, student learning, and assessment—words that describe pieces of the puzzle of understanding and improving the relationship between teaching and learning. The research reported in this book demonstrates that these common terms belong together through evidence from two...

  5. 2 Sites of Faculty Learning (pp. 14-27)

    Faculty learning about teaching inevitably reflects the institutional characteristics and opportunities/sites for learning that are available to faculty at a given institution. In any particular context, faculty learning takes place constantly, through multiple means and within varied locations—whether spatial or institutional.

    Evaluating the effects of faculty development on teaching and learning is similarly complicated by the necessity to consider each study and its results in terms of its institutional context. The vast differences in those contexts—greatly varying sizes, demographics, governance, and curricula—provide one of the strengths of the Tracer Project. Research findings from such different settings are...

  6. 3 Seeking the Evidence (pp. 28-44)

    The project was named the Tracer Project to reflect its goal of tracing the effects of faculty development through changes in practice to an impact on student learning. As shown in figure 3.1, in its simplest form, this conceptualization can be envisioned as a direct path, one that can be understood by exploring the change in faculty attitudes and knowledge during the development activity, the change in their instruction that follows, and the change in the quantity or type of learning demonstrated by their students. The model has been briefly, and perhaps unconsciously, described by Angelo and Cross: “The quality...

  7. 4 Faculty Learning Applied (pp. 45-71)

    This chapter explores the first links in the chain between professional development and improved student learning: the impact of professional development on faculty knowledge, skills, and attitudes and the subsequent changes in their teaching that result as they apply their learning.

    The chapter begins with a look at the most direct effects as described in the Direct Path, including the impact of workshops, portfolio rating, and other formal or routine occasions available for faculty learning. Is there a difference in the assignments developed by faculty who have participated in professional development activities? Do these changes reflect the intended outcomes of...

  8. 5 Spreading the Benefits (pp. 72-91)

    Tracer Project data show that when an individual faculty member applies his or her learning to revise existing assignments or develop new ones, or to revise an existing course or develop a new one, he or she initiates a chain of improvements in teaching that amplify and spread the impact of professional development opportunities. When faculty members successfully apply their learning to the courses or assignments that were the focus of the faculty development opportunity, they routinely apply that learning to the rest of their courses and assignments. These two extensions of the faculty development reveal the most basic spread...

  9. 6 Reaching Students (pp. 92-113)

    This project sprang from a deceptively simple question: When faculty change their teaching, what is the impact on student learning? After three years of mixed methods investigation, the answer is that the connection is elusive but detectable. Literature connecting faculty development to student learning, while well developed in K–12 circles, is less common in the post-secondary context. STEM disciplines document the role of interactive, small-group pedagogies as well as undergraduate research in increasing student retention (Russell, Hancock, and McCullough 2007; Nagda et al. 1998) and learning (Freeman et al. 2014; Ebert-May, Batlzi, and Weber 2006; Hoellwarth, Moelter, and Knight...

  10. 7 Faculty Development Matters (pp. 114-129)

    Learning is both an individual and a collective activity. For faculty members, a spiral of learning lasts their entire careers, drawing on the lessons learned in their own teaching, from interactions with others, and from professional development—formal, self-directed, and resulting from routine campus activities. That learning is situated in and dependent on the context for learning in the institution. That context is changing as the campus leadership and faculty collectively participate in a spiral of learning that encompasses both understanding more about how teaching and learning work on campus and how to increase their collective ability to improve that...

  11. Afterword: Afterward (pp. 130-134)
    Richard Haswell

    AfterFaculty Development and Student Learning, what comes next?

    My modest Colorado town bears the brazen motto “ Gateway to All Season Fun.” Del Norte (pop. 1,655) exhibits the metaphorgatewayas an enabling fiction, of a breed with other “gateways” around the United States. They each boast that only through here can you reach wherever. They also lay a risky bet that people will not notice howgatewaydemotes the now and promotes the afterward. It seems to say, “Head out of town, to the all-season fun.” Who wants to spend the night under a gate?

    Or under an...

  12. Acknowledgments (pp. 135-136)
  13. Appendix 1. Guide to Rating Critical Thinking (pp. 137-140)
  14. Appendix 2. Methodologies in the Study at Carleton (pp. 141-142)
  15. Appendix 3. History of the Critical Thinking Rubric (pp. 143-144)
  16. Appendix 4. Rating Forms (pp. 145-148)
  17. Notes (pp. 149-150)
  18. References (pp. 151-156)
  19. Back Matter (pp. 157-157)