Successful bottom-up faculty collaboration during institutional change

Hsuying C. Ward, Ming Tsan P Lu, Brendan O'Connor, Terry Overton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline findings from practitioner research with a university faculty learning community (FLC) that organized itself to effect bottom-up change. The study explores beliefs about the efficacy of collaboration among members of the FLC and serves as a best case of grassroots faculty collaboration during a period of institutional change. Design/methodology/approach – This is a case study using semi-structured interviews with FLC members and document review of short-term learning data from students who participated in workshops offered by the FLC. Findings – Creative faculty responses to challenges posed by large-scale institutional transformation improved the teaching and learning environment for faculty and students. This case study highlights four characteristics that were crucial to the success of this FLC and which could provide a helpful starting point for faculty collaboration at other institutions. Research limitations/implications – This is a preliminary, self-reflective study with a small number of participants working at a unique institution. Findings are presented not as strictly generalizable truths about faculty collaboration in higher education, but as “lessons learned” that may be valuable to other faculty seeking to take a more proactive role in contexts of institutional change. Practical implications – This case study highlights four characteristics that were crucial to the success of this FLC and which could provide a helpful starting point for faculty collaboration at other institutions. Social implications – This study illustrates how bottom-up, faculty-led collaboration can address institutional problems in a university setting. Creative faculty responses to challenges posed by large-scale institutional transformation can improve the teaching and learning environment for faculty and students. Originality/value – This study documents one FLC’s innovative responses to institutional challenges and shifts the conversation about university-based teaching and learning away from bureaucratic mandates related to faculty interactions and productivity and toward faculty’s organic responses to changing institutional conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-330
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Higher Education
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 14 2015

Keywords

  • Diverse learners
  • Faculty learning communities
  • Higher education
  • Institutional change
  • Research education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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