Understanding self-directed faculty development in the open access college
Tucker, Barbara Graham
MetadataShow full item record
In order to understand the self-directed learning of faculty for professional development in an access college in the U.S. and its relationship to the organization, an action research Appreciative Inquiry (AI) project was conducted. The research project pursued four research questions about the use of the college’s teaching center; the faculty’s use of self-directed learning to improve instruction; the effects of faculty self-directed educational development on the system to create individual, group, culture, and system change; and how the action research (AR) team learned through using AI. The study was grounded in the literatures of self-directed learning theory, educational development, the professoriate, organizational learning in higher education, and social constructionism. Expectancy-value theory of motivation also contributed to the conceptual framework. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by an AR team, consisting of surveys, interviews, focus groups, meeting transcriptions, and researcher memos. The AR study resulted in a case study that chronicled the eighteen-month period. Findings centered on the subjects, methods, and outcomes of the faculty’s self-directed educational development and its relationship to the college; the faculty’s attitudes toward faculty development efforts and the organizational health of the college; and the learning processes and outcomes of the AR team’s use of AI. Four conclusions were drawn: 1. Faculty self-directed learning to improve instruction is motivated by a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors, is bounded by the constraints of the organizational context, and feeds back into and support the goals of the context. 2. Self-directed learning occurs through several methods including informal learning. Formal educational development opportunities are self-chosen and appreciated, but often insufficient, needing to be supplemented and completed by self-directed methods. 3. To the extent that a college’s culture focuses solely on student outcomes, faculty learning may be overlooked as an auxiliary but not primary part of meeting that cultural goal. 4. Although AI can extract organizational strengths, it should be used in conjunction with other AR methods and preliminary research done to ensure the conditions are optimal for the approach These results are depicted in a logic model of self-directed faculty development in the open access college.