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Back view of a woman lecturer giving presentation to a group of businesspeople.

Faculty members who completed professional development courses reported improved mind-sets, which rubbed off on their students.

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Faculty development programs support more than just the individual; they can improve student learning experiences and students’ self-efficacy. ACUE, the Association of College and University Educators, published new research in September, measuring the self-efficacy and mind-sets of faculty members and their students after completing the organization’s effective teaching practices course.

Researchers found the course had a positive influence on faculty’s self-efficacy and their beliefs toward teaching, learning and students, both immediately after the course and one semester later. Students also felt more comfortable communicating with their professor and managing gateway course content.

Methodology: Over 570 members from 10 institutions who teach gateway courses participated in a faculty development course in effective teaching practices or effective online teaching practices over two semesters. Over 1,000 faculty who did not take the course made up a control group.

Participating institutions include Borough of Manhattan Community College; California State University, Northridge; Cincinnati State Technical and Community College; Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio; Georgia Southern University; the University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa; the University of Houston; Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, Lorain County Community College in Ohio; and North Carolina A&T State University.

To measure self-efficacy, researchers surveyed a faculty member’s level of confidence in using effective teaching practices such as engaging and motivating students, adjusting instruction time based on student feedback, and providing clear directions to students.

Faculty members were assessed four times throughout the year—prior to taking the course, during the course, after the course and one semester following completion of the course.

Results: The faculty development positively influenced and sustained faculty members’ self-efficacy and mind-sets.

Faculty members who took the course had significant improvements in their overall teaching self-efficacy from the start of the course to the midpoint. Those who participated in the effective teaching practices session had the greatest improvement at the endpoint, or the course conclusion.

Professors also demonstrated a growth in mind-set, with higher perceptions of their teaching effectiveness, teaching improvement behaviors and teaching enthusiasm.

In addition, the research involved a survey of 2,977 students taught by ACUE faculty during spring 2022 and fall 2022 in gateway courses. Learners believed their academic confidence grew over the term. Students were more confident participating in class, attending office hours, managing coursework and meeting deadlines.

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