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Faculty Perspectives and Institutional Climate for Teaching Quality in Engineering

Event Date: May 8, 2017
Authors: Jacqueline C. McNeil, Matthew W. Ohland and Catherine E. Brawner
Journal / Conference: International Journal of Engineering Education
This paper analyzes faculty comments collected in 1997, 1999, and 2002 in surveys of engineering faculty teaching practices using thematic analysis.
The objective was to see if there were common themes in the comments from faculty in supportive/unsupportive climates. Comments from a 2014 survey administration were classified by teaching practices (traditional vs. non-traditional) and institutional climate (traditional vs. non-traditional), creating four conditions. These comments were then analyzed using a collective case study approach.
The study of the two collections of open-ended comments was supplemented by multinomial logistic regression of survey items from the 2014 administration relating faculty teaching practices and the institutional climate for teaching. In the historical data, faculty views of student evaluations evolved from seeing it as a negative burden to describing is as positive evidence of student learning.
Faculty comments included many references to administrators who only ‘‘pay lip service’’ to the importance of teaching, although some faculty spoke positively about their campus’s commitment to quality teaching. Faculty awareness of and pressure to use student centered methods increased with time. The collective case study identified faculty in all four conditions, although they were not equally prevalent, and illustrates the experience in each condition using faculty comments.