June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
NSF Grantees Poster Session
23.590.1 - 23.590.11
Faculty Motivation to Adopt Effective Teaching Practices Engineering faculty’s adoption of effective teaching practices is discouragingly low at our large research university. We recently observed a random sample of 26 undergraduate, lecture‐based engineering classes and only 11 (42%) featured even one active learning exercise. When studied in five‐minute segments, just over one‐quarter of the segments (26%) included even a single student question. We lead faculty professional development activities at our college of engineering, and we are working to develop a college‐wide change plan to result in wider adoption of effective teaching practices, thereby transforming the student experience. This paper will describe a series of faculty focus groups we conducted to explore factors that influence faculty motivation to adopt effective teaching practices. These findings, in turn, guide the development of our institutional change plan. We use Eccles’ Expectancy Value Theory (EVT) of motivation as a framework for our research. Her theory posits that an individual’s motivation is influenced by both his/her expectancy of being able to succeed at the task and by the values he/she ascribes to completing it. In our context, we apply EVT to a faculty member’s motivation to adopt effective teaching practices. During our focus groups, we probed faculty’s expectancy (i.e., ability self‐concept and perception of task difficulty) and value (i.e., intrinsic value, utility value, attainment value, and cost) related to adopting effective teaching practices. Twenty‐six engineering full‐time faculty with a diverse range of rank, experience, discipline, and gender participated in the focus groups. After the focus group data were transcribed, we analyzed them for emergent themes which we subsequently categorized into each of the EVT constructs. For example, one commonly cited theme is that having ongoing and individually‐tailored support while learning how to adopt effective teaching practices could make it easier to apply those practices. We categorized this theme as “expectancy: task difficulty.” Another common theme is that removing the risk associated with trying (and potentially failing) a new teaching practice could motivate faculty to adopt that practice. We categorized this theme using the construct “value: cost.” In this paper, we describe our analysis method in detail, define the major themes, and present examples of key factors identified as influencing faculty motivation. Our next steps involve designing a two‐part change plan for our college of engineering which leverages findings from the faculty focus groups. A faculty change plan, for instance, may recommend that faculty development efforts include ongoing and sustained interaction between faculty and experienced faculty developers. This could be one way to minimize task difficulty associated with adopting effective teaching practices. The change plan aimed at influencing the administration, on the other hand, may suggest policies provide a safe space for junior faculty as they learn about and adopt effective teaching practices. We conclude the paper with suggestions for applying these findings in other settings.
Finelli, C. J., & Richardson, K. M., & Daly, S. R. (2013, June), Factors that Influence Faculty Motivation of Effective Teaching Practices in Engineering Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19604
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