Motivating Change in Faculty Teaching Practices to Support a Diverse Student Body in Engineering
Engineering - Other (59); Assessment/Research (91)
A great deal of research has shown that specific teaching practices can improve student success and support a diverse student body in engineering. Translation of this research to actual teaching practices has been slow at many institutions. This project is seeking to generate a transformative change in teaching practices. It is grounded in a strategic model that posits that efforts to encourage instructors to adopt the most effective teaching practices will have the greatest impact if they are (1) grounded in research about successful faculty teaching practices, (2) integrated with local evidence from the College of Engineering, including the institutional context, engineering student perspectives, and engineering faculty perspectives (about their own teaching practices, about how those practices affect student learning, and about factors that influence their motivation to change), and (3) informed by literature on institutional change models, faculty development research, and learning theory.
This is a two year project that will advance knowledge of how to impact faculty change on a large scale. The project is comprised of four phases:
Phase 1: Contextualize the problem. It entails synthesizing published literature about faculty teaching practices that support a diverse student body and situating that literature in the local context using data from multiple sources. The data include student demographic and academic data from the registrar, interviews with academic advisors, and classroom observations of engineering faculty who teach undergraduate engineering courses.
Phase 2: Understand the student perspective. It is comprised of interactions with students at all levels of academic achievement to identify teaching practices perceived by students to support or hinder their success in engineering.
Phase 3: Understand the faculty perspective. It begins with a survey all the engineering instructors and ends with one-on-one interviews with a few in order to: (a) to ascertain faculty beliefs about their own teaching practices and how these practices affect student learning and (b) to identify factors that motivate faculty to change their teaching practices.
Phase 4 (Develop a plan for institutional change) builds on the first three phases. It will also incorporate knowledge derived from published literature on institutional change models, faculty development research, and learning theory.
At the conclusion of the project, a faculty action team will be positioned to initiate an evidence-based change model that has the potential to transform the educational experience for all engineering students. The evidence-based approach to enabling institutional change may serve as a model for other institutions. The analyses of student and faculty data will contribute to the national understanding of issues in engineering education.