June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
NSF Grantees Poster Session
26.419.1 - 26.419.13
Creating institution-level change in instructional practices through faculty communities of practiceThe College of Engineering at a Midwestern institution received NSF funding to transform theteaching culture in gateway STEM courses through the creation of faculty communities ofpractice (CoPs). The STEM departments have historically had “lone ranger” teaching cultures inwhich faculty possess sole jurisdiction over their teaching practices and heroes are called uponto create better instructional environments. In contrast, these same departments have deeplycollaborative research cultures that spark innovation and sustained excellence. This effort hasbeen organized around a simple message of “teach like we do research.”At the core of the effort, we challenged faculty to pursue excellence through collaborative jointownership of their courses. Thus course-focused CoPs were formed and tasked with theongoing task of integrating research-based instructional strategies (RBIS) into their courses.Concurrently, the leadership team fostered a cross-college CoP (i.e., a team of teams) byattending each course-focused CoP weekly meeting and cross-pollinating fruitful efforts. Theseobservations also provided rich opportunities for understanding how the CoPs formed andfunctioned, allowing the leadership team to characterize the habits and behaviors of effectiveand ineffective CoPs.Within these research-inspired collaborative communities, course-focused CoPs wereencouraged to learn from the literature and collect data to evaluate their efforts as they would inresearch. Accordingly, the leadership team provided just-in-time training as gaps in each CoP’sknowledge were identified. Through these iterative implement-evaluate development cycles, it isexpected that faculty will emergently adopt RBIS that meet their course design goals andobjectives such as increased student learning, motivation, and retention.The purpose of this paper is to (1) describe our initial experiences with creating the CoPs andwith attempting to change the teaching culture to be one of collaborative joint ownership withinCoPs, (2) describe the groups of instructors who are successfully forming CoPs and discuss thecharacteristics of effective and ineffective CoPs, based on observation data, and (3) describethe different RBIS that have been implemented, and the fidelity and success of implementationthus far, based on informational surveys completed by the CoP observation teams.
Herman, G. L., & Mena, I. B., & West, M., & Mestre, J., & Tomkin, J. H. (2015, June), Creating Institution-level Change in Instructional Practices through Faculty Communities of Practice Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23758
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