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Abstracts, Volume 30

Select an article title to access full articles at SpringerLink.

Volume 30 / Issue 1

Publishing in Innovative Higher Education - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Theoretical Eclecticism in the College Classroom

Anastasia S. Morrone and Terri A. Tarr

Abstract: In this article we argue that student learning is enhanced by “theoretical eclecticism,” which we define as intentionally drawing on different theories of learning when making instructional decisions to provide students with the instructional support they need to be successful. We briefly review the literature on four views of learning and on learner-centered approaches to instruction and then integrate this literature with Barr and Tagg’s (1995) distinction between the instruction paradigm and the learning paradigm. Finally, we present examples from a teacher education course to illustrate how theoretical eclecticism can be used to support student learning.

Fostering Faculty Collaboration in Learning Communities: A Developmental Approach

Catherine B. Stevenson, Robert L. Duran, Karen A. Barrett, and Guy C. Colarulli

Abstract: Colleges and universities are adopting learning communities to increase student learning and build cohesion. As learning communities grow in popularity, institutions need to invest in faculty development (Oates, 2001) and understand faculty experiences (Mullen, 2001). The University of Hartford created a program that prepared faculty for collaborative teaching in first-year learning communities. Faculty learned to engage in collaborative behaviors, to think outside disciplinary borders, and to employ a specific template as a heuristic for course development. Results of focus group research about the faculty experience and the impact of the experience on their pedagogy are summarized.

A Study of Faculty Perceptions of Summer Compressed Course Teaching

Mark A. Kretovics, Alicia R. Crowe, and Eunsook Hyun

Abstract: Students take summer and compressed courses for a variety of reasons and research indicates that learning outcomes in these courses are similar to those gained in traditional semester or quarter courses. This quantitative study was an attempt to clarify faculty perceptions about summer compressed courses. One hundred and fifty-one faculty members teaching at a large, multicampus institution completed a survey addressing teaching methodology, approaches to student assessment, and other pedagogical issues relating to such courses. It was determined that many faculty did make adjustments in teaching methods and approaches to student assessment. In addition, perceptions were different between experienced/tenured faculty and inexperienced/nontenured faculty.

Improving Campus Climate to Support Faculty Diversity and Retention: A Pilot Program for New Faculty

Fred Piercy, Valerie Giddings, Katherine Allen, Benjamin Dixon, Peggy Meszaros, and Karen Joest

Abstract: We report on a series of pilot programs that we developed and carried out to support the success and satisfaction of new faculty, particularly faculty of color. We hope that others committed to retaining and supporting underrepresented faculty can apply our learning from this pilot project, as a whole or in part.

Students’ Learning and Locus of Control in Web-Supplemental Instruction

Danhua Wang

Abstract: This multicase study investigated the learning experiences of four college students identified respectively as internal and external locus of control. They were taking a basic educational technology course that supplemented classroom teaching with two course web sites. Four categories that characterized their learning experiences suggested some relationship between locus of control and learning experience.

Volume 30 / Issue 2

Dramatic Changes in Faculty Demographics - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Options for Change: A Flexible Vehicle for Curriculum Evolution and Reform

Roger G. Baldwin and Melissa J. Baumann

Abstract: In this article we examine a flexible curricular approach known as the “Option.” The Option enables students to supplement traditional majors with a coherent set of courses and other educational experiences in a related, often interdisciplinary field. Options can act as curricular bridges between mainstream academic fields and problems of professional practice. They can also give students experience with emerging subject areas (e.g., biomedical engineering). Options serve as laboratories for experimenting with new subject areas before incorporating them fully into the curriculum as majors and minors. Hence, Options promote creativity and risk-taking by providing a proving ground for potential new academic programs.

Why Faculty Did-and Did Not-Integrate Instructional Software in Their Undergraduate Classrooms

Timothy J. Weston

Abstract: Using a comparative case study approach, the researcher followed 13 instructors for 2 years as they attempted to integrate the Visible Human Dissector, an educational software program, into their undergraduate anatomy courses. Instructors were motivated to use the software as a supplement for limited educational resources and because of its ability to provide students with novel educational experiences. Obstacles in technology access and services as well as organizational factors prevented integration. However, personal hesitancy and lack of confidence, posited to be a major obstacle to integration in the literature, played only a minimal role in slow integration for these instructors. The greatest obstacles to changes in instruction supported by the new technology were difficulties in finding computers to run the software in traditional anatomy laboratories.

Practical Considerations When Using Benchmarking for Accountability in Higher Education

Sue D. Achtemeier and Ronald D. Simpson


Abstract: The qualitative study on which this article is based examined key individuals’ perceptions, both within a research university community and beyond in its external governing board, of how to improve benchmarking as an accountability method in higher education. Differing understanding of benchmarking revealed practical implications for using it as an accountability tool. A change model is presented for enhancing the effectiveness of benchmarking in higher education communities.


Evaluating Academic Challenge Beyond the NSSE

Stephen L. Payne, Karynne L. M. Kleine, Jim Purcell, and Ginger Rudeseal Carter

Abstract: The authors investigated student and faculty perceptions of academic challenge at their institution, based on early administrations of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). This analysis revealed that the NSSE did not fully capture many meanings of academic challenge held by these faculty and students. This study led to a proposal for the development of an internal assessment approach using a modification of the NSSE and other scale items on academic challenge and student engagement. The authors discuss several implications of this study for academic scholarship and for institutional policy concerning the assessment of academic challenge.

Volume 30 / Issue 3

Challenges of Access, Affordability, and Persistence - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Research Circles: Supporting the Scholarship of Junior Faculty

Diane Gillespie, Nives Dolsak, Bruce Kochis, Ron Krabill, Kari Lerum, Anne Peterson, and Elizabeth Thomas

Abstract: This article describes and assesses “Research Circles” as a mechanism for enhancing faculty collegiality and research. Recently established on our campus, these circles, composed of three to four faculty members, have had a particularly powerful effect on the new faculty members' adjustment to their tenure track positions, especially since they entered a context that might otherwise have been challenging: a new interdisciplinary upper-division campus with high expectations for teaching excellence. Based on the end-of-year evaluations, journals, and focus groups, the co-authors described themes that emerged from their participation in these circles. Circle participation not only facilitated faculty writing throughout their first year, but it also fostered the development of an interdisciplinary community which nurtured creativity and risk taking in writing.

Instructional Design as a Professional Development Tool-of-Choice for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Patricia L. Hardre

Abstract: Institutions need effective and efficient methods of professional development for preparing graduate students to teach. These skills are important both for their immediate roles as teaching assistants (TAs) and for their eventual roles in the professoriate. An iterative process model from instructional design can function as a cognitive organizational framework for the development of teaching expertise. It facilitates expertise by supporting TAs in connecting new and existing knowledge about teaching and learning in meaningful ways that reflect the cognitive processes of expert teachers. Thus, it can support both the current and future development of teaching expertise and facilitate the application of knowledge in the form of teaching strategies.

Critical Decisions Affecting the Development of Western Governors University

Katrina A. Meyer

Abstract: Interviews conducted with individuals involved in the early development and current operation of the Western Governors University allowed identification of 12 themes concerning early, formative decisions and decision-making processes. These themes were subsequently grouped into 5 categories: (1) politics, (2) organizational models, (3) changing mission, (4) multiple missions, and (5) experiencing innovation. Several factors, including the need to obtain financial support and to operate independently as a degree-granting institution, were influential in the decision to focus on competency-based curricula rather than providing a repository for distance learning courses offered by institutions in the West.

The Evolving Meaning and Influence of Cohort Membership

Michelle A. Maher

Abstract: This study examined the experiences of 13 graduate students enrolled in a closed, lock-step master's degree of the education cohort program. Interview and observational data, collected over 10 months and across four courses, were qualitatively analyzed to explore students' understanding of the meaning of cohort membership and how that membership both shaped their educational experience and the development of peer and instructor relationships. Results indicate that both the meaning and influence of cohort membership were fluid and evolved as students progressed in their program, changing from an inconsequential to a significant meaning and from a modest to a deep influence.

The Journey Toward Transformational Learning in a Statewide Doctoral Program

Meredith Mountford

Abstract: This article describes strategies for redesigning the University of Missouri's Statewide Cooperative Ed.D. Cohort Program in educational leadership. Results had suggested a need to redesign aspects of the program in order to achieve higher levels of cognitive learning outcomes inclusive of transformational learning. To help meet this objective, the areas targeted for redesign were the curriculum as it relates to issues of diversity and ethics, instruction as it relates to group dynamics and cohort models, and increased time and a forum for students to reflect on their leadership practices. This forum also allowed faculty to monitor and assess the transformational learning outcomes of their students. This article is meant to assist others who are interested in fostering higher levels of transformational learning outcomes within their programs.

Volume 30 / Issue 4

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowships: A Home in Academe? - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

Undergraduates Leading Undergraduates: Peer Facilitation in a Science Workshop Program

Marina Micari, Bernhard Streitwieser, and Gregory Light

Abstract: This article presents the results of a study investigating the experiences of undergraduatesacting as peer leaders in an extensive peer-led team learning program in introductory undergraduate sciences and engineering courses. In an effort to understand the facilitator experience in the program better and to report initial findings on the benefits derived through a peer-facilitation experience, the study identified multiple areas in which peer facilitators reported experiences ofgrowth and the ways in which they understood and responded to this growth.

Transfer Student Graduation Efficiency and University Administrators: New Bedfellows

Susan Poch and Mimi Wolverton

Abstract: Accountability is an important focus for nearly all-public higher education institutions. In 1997 the Washington State Legislature mandated an accountability measure designed to encourage public universities to increase student efficiency toward graduation. This accountability measure is assessed by a formula called the Graduation Efficiency Index. This qualitative study details the Graduation Efficiency Index's conception and ramifications for public higher education institutions. It further examines university administrators' perceptions of the Graduation Efficiency Index and transfer students' impact on the ability of three public institutions to meet mandated accountability goals. We include implications for practice.

Establishing a Center to Support Faculty Research

Laura Goodwin, Elizabeth Kozleski, Rodney Muth, Lynn K. Rhodes, and Kim Kennedy White

Abstract: This article describes the establishment in fall 2002 of a School of Education Research Center designed to support faculty in increasing productivity and quality in research. Details are provided about center goals, services, staffing, space, resources, and logistics during the first year of operation. In addition, data are shared about faculty usage of the Center, the level of faculty satisfaction with center services in the first year, and initial increases in faculty productivity. The article concludes with plans for continued data collection to monitor the impact of the Center, a discussion of lessons learned at this point in the Center's development, and possibilities for the evolution of the Center.

Transforming Selves, Transforming Courses: Faculty and Staff Development and the Construction of Interdisciplinary Diversity Courses

Janet Moore Lindman and Maria Tahamont

Abstract: Faculty/staff workshops provide a way of enhancing teaching and learning strategies and pedagogical techniques. We include faculty/staff development workshops designed to create team that taught interdisciplinary courses which address issues of diversity and democracy for first year students. Strategic planning of the workshop and responsiveness to participants' needs and interests engender collegiality, collaboration, and curricular change.

 Volume 30 / Issue 5

Rosa Parks, Leadership Artist and Designer - Editor's Page

Libby V. Morris

A Breakpoint Moment: Leadership Visions and Values for Trustees of Collegiate Mission

E. Grady Bogue

Abstract: American higher education is an enterprise of complex heritage, mission, and governance culture—an enterprise expected to serve as both cultural curator and cultural critic. Contemporary issues such as the call for accountability and the pressure of marketplace ideology present colleges and universities with a possible breakpoint change moment in both mission and leadership, as established policy and philosophic principles are challenged and leadership vision and values are similarly called to question. This article probes the particular effect of marketplace ideology on colleges and explores three metaphors of leadership role and value: the Servant/Exemplar Leader, the Steward/Trustee Leader, and the Artist/Designer Leader.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Theory-Practice Integration in a Faculty Certificate Program

Harry T. Hubball and Helen Burt

Abstract: There is growing recognition of the complexity of academic work and the need for university and college faculty members to develop scholarly approaches to teaching and learning. While structured programs of study have been initiated for faculty to address these issues in various higher education contexts, very little research has investigated the theory–practice relationship of the scholarship of teaching and learning within a faculty certificate program context. This article presents a program development and evaluation framework to enhance the theory–practice integration of the scholarship of teaching and learning in such a program. Data suggest that a broad range of institutional and programmatic strategies can enhance the scholarship of teaching and learning in a faculty certificate program. A scholarly approach to teaching and learning is viewed as both an individual and social contextual process.

Undergraduates' Evaluations of Developmental Claims and Their Identification of Information Sources

Sherry K. Bain, Robert L. Williams, Rachael Isaacs, Ashley Williams, and Susan Stockdale

Abstract: Students in a large human development course rated the accuracy of 50 developmental claims. Half of the claims were specifically embedded in the course content, but the remaining claims were not addressed in the course. Students also identified the major information source for each developmental claim rated. From the beginning to the end of the course, students (especially high performers) improved in evaluating the accuracy of course-related developmental claims and increasingly attributed their ratings of these claims to professional information sources. Our study underscores the importance of sensitizing students to the role of research evidence in judging the credibility of claims in general education courses.

College Students' Study Strategies as a Function of Testing: An Investigation into Metacognitive Self-Regulation

Margaret E. Ross, Samuel B. Green, Jill D. Salisbury-Glennon, and Nona Tollefson

Abstract: We conducted the present study to investigate whether college students adjust their study strategies to meet the cognitive demands of testing, a metacognitive self-regulatory skill. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two testing conditions. In one condition we told participants to study for a test that required deep-level cognitive processing and in the other to study for a test that required surface-level cognitive processing. Results suggested that college students adjust their study strategies so that they are in line with the cognitive processing demands of tests and that performance is mediated by the study strategies that are used.

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