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Long-Term Impact of a Faculty Development Program on Student Evaluations of Teaching

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pedagogy and Its Impact on Faculty and Students

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28632

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28632

Download Count

190

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Paper Authors

biography

Julia F. Kerst University of Michigan

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Julia Kerst, a native of Ann Arbor, MI, is a third-year undergraduate student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan. She is also the Internal Vice President of the Society of Women Engineers at U of M. She has been doing research in Engineering Education since May 2016, and focuses on student responses to faculty trying new learning techniques.

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Hanna Pfershy University of Michigan, Engineering Education Research

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Hanna is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan studying Biomedical Engineering. She started as a research assistant in Engineering Education Research in summer 2016.

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Robert Matthew DeMonbrun University of Michigan

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Matt DeMonbrun is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. His research interests include college student development theory, intergroup interactions, and teaching and learning practices and how they relate to student learning outcomes in engineering education.

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Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-1492

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Dr. Cynthia Finelli is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Associate Professor of Education, and Director of Engineering Education Research at University of Michigan. Her research areas include student resistance to active learning, the impact of the classroom space on teaching and learning, the use of classroom technology to increase student learning and engagement, and faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices. She recently led an international initiative to develop a taxonomy for the field of engineering education research. Dr. Finelli is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Education, and past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE. She founded the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at University of Michigan in 2003 and served as its Director for 12 years.

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Abstract

Despite recent research on the use of active learning and its benefits in the classroom, many engineering faculty have yet to implement these practices. There are many factors for this lack of adoption, including lack of familiarity with the practices, content and course restrictions, and negative course evaluations that might affect tenure. At the University of Michigan, we have developed a faculty learning community program to address some of these common barriers. Faculty participants in the program meet monthly throughout one semester to discuss active learning pedagogies and strategies for successfully adopting them. In order to assess the impact of the program, we have compiled student evaluation data for faculty who applied to participate in the program. Student evaluations have been shown to be a particularly influential motivator in faculty decisions to adopt active learning pedagogies, and can provide substantial feedback on how students view these practices.

Our study consisted of 81 engineering faculty members of differing departments, genders, and ranks. Of these, 40 faculty had participated in the faculty learning community program (the “intervention” group). The other 41 had applied to participate but, due to program limitations, were not accepted to the program (the “control” group). Students in every course were invited to complete an end-of-semester student evaluation of teaching form. The evaluation included four standard items and other items that were selected by the college, department, and/or individual instructor. For the 81 faculty in this study, we analyzed student evaluations data for all academic terms where faculty taught a course from Fall 2008 through Winter 2016. We excluded evaluations for all graduate courses, independent studies, and all courses with fewer than five responses. We then identified 12 items from the student evaluation data that were both relevant and had a substantial number of responses. Next, for every academic term in which the instructor taught, we computed an item-by-item course average for each instructor, and then we compared those responses with previous and follow-up terms to identify the impact of participating in the program.

Using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, we studied the linear relationship between time (e.g., terms before and after the instructor applied to participate in the faculty learning community) and the average score for each of the 12 items. On average, we have student evaluation data for 10 terms before the instructors applied and 8 terms after. When comparing the models of the control and intervention groups, we found that the slopes for our control group in the pre- and post-application periods remained stagnant or slightly declined, whereas the slopes for the intervention groups after program participation steadily increased. The slopes of the intervention group improved in 10 out of 12 cases, while only 3 of the control slopes improved. The full paper will further explore these preliminary findings as well as other statistics and will provide a summary of the program’s effectiveness.

Kerst, J. F., & Pfershy, H., & DeMonbrun, R. M., & Finelli, C. J. (2017, June), Long-Term Impact of a Faculty Development Program on Student Evaluations of Teaching Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28632

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