TEACHING FOR CIVIC CAPACITY AND ENGAGEMENT: HOW FACULTY MEMBERS ALIGN TEACHING AND PURPOSE

Open Access
Author:
Domagal-Goldman, Jennifer M.
Graduate Program:
Higher Education
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
May 20, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Dr Lisa Lattuca, Dissertation Advisor
  • Lisa R Lattuca, Committee Chair
  • Robert D Reason, Committee Member
  • Susan Ruth Rankin, Committee Member
  • Constance A Flanagan, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • civic engagement
  • higher education
  • teaching and learning
  • faculty learning
Abstract:
The purpose of the study was to advance theoretical and practical understanding of the role of faculty participation in a campus-based professional development group on course planning and teaching for civic purposes. Two research questions guided the study: 1) How, if at all, does faculty participation in the Public Scholarship Associates (PSA) group, a multidisciplinary, civic-engagement-oriented group of faculty, influence faculty members’ learning about teaching and/or their teaching practice? and 2) How, if at all, do faculty members at a research university align their undergraduate teaching practices with their implicit and/or explicit ideas about civic engagement as an educational purpose? Relying on qualitative research methodologies, the study explored whether and how participation in this voluntary group influenced faculty members’ commitment to civic education as an educational purpose and their abilities to develop course plans congruent with their espoused civic purposes. The empirical literature on course planning in higher education guided the study. The Contextual Filters Model of Faculty Course Planning (Stark, Lowther, Bentley, Ryan, Martens, Wren, & Shaw, 1990) provided a conceptual framework for the study, and a sociocultural perspective on learning shaped data collection and analysis (Greeno, 1997; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wertsch, del Rio, & Alvarez, 1995). Fourteen faculty members representing 16 disciplines agreed to a series of three semi-structured interviews designed to explore personal, professional, and contextual influences on their course decisions regarding teaching for civic capacity and engagement and corresponding to the three main components of the Contextual Filters Model (i.e., content, context, form). Analysis occurred iteratively throughout and following the data collection period, and involved a combination of both inductive and deductive coding. Findings from the study yielded propositions for theory development to be tested through further research, and implications for institutional practices and policies.