Implementing Pedagogical Change in Introductory Biology Courses Through the Use of Faculty Learning Communities

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2013-11-01
Authors
Bassham, Diane
Powell-Coffman, Jo Anne
Coffman, Clark
Boury, Nancy
Addis, Elizabeth
Quardokus, Kathleen
Bassham, Diane
Becraft, Philip
Coffman, Clark
Colbert, James
Powell-Coffman, Jo Anne
Boury, Nancy
Colbert, James
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Genetics, Development and Cell Biology
Abstract

Recent national reports have indicated a need for significant changes in science higher education, with the inclusion of more studentcentered learning. However, substantial barriers to change exist. These include a lack of faculty awareness and understanding of appropriate pedagogical approaches, large class sizes, the time commitment needed to make these changes, and lack of resources and support. At Iowa State University, the implementation of student-centered learning in introductory biology classes is being facilitated by the use of faculty learning communities (FLCs). Progress toward this goal was assessed via surveys of faculty, including both FLC participants and nonparticipants, to determine their teaching practices and attitudes toward biology education. Two years after the formation of the FLCs, a majority of FLC participants indicated that they had experimented with teaching methods and had worked to clarify learning goals for their classes. To continue these changes and promote a true cultural shift within the program, our next steps are to independently assess faculty progress toward studentcentered learning and changes in student learning gains, as well as to develop a more transparent incentive and reward system for faculty teaching.

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This article is from Journal of College Science Teaching 53 (2013): 22. Posted with permission.

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