Seeking what works in teaching: A grounded theory model of teaching expansion

Open Access
Loya-suarez, Karla I
Graduate Program:
Higher Education
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 06, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Leticia Oseguera, Dissertation Advisor
  • Leticia Oseguera, Committee Chair
  • Dorothy H Evensen, Committee Member
  • Liliana M Garces, Committee Member
  • Nancy A Tuana, Special Member
  • Teaching
  • pedagogy
  • assessment
  • feminist theory
  • grounded theory
  • qualitative methods
  • faculty.
This dissertation study used grounded theory qualitative methods and feminist theoretical perspectives to understand, interpret, and explain faculty members’ teaching views and practices. Additionally, it investigated the origins of these views and practices, and their shifts. Lastly, it also probed for possible connections between teaching views and practices and issues of power dynamics and diversity in the classroom. The study used in-depth interviews from 18 tenure-track faculty members teaching in one academic department at one research intensive institution. Staying close to the data, analyses rendered a grounded theory model of teaching expansion that explains how seeking what works was at the core of the participating faculty members’ views and practices of teaching. The model explains how faculty members make changes to their teaching that may lead to the expansion of teaching views and practices. As teaching becomes more expansive, changes occur in the following areas: the roles and responsibilities of the teacher and students in the teaching and learning process; the function of content; the purpose of assessment; the distribution of power in the classroom; and the purpose of teaching. As these areas expand, they influence the epistemic credibility of teachers and students, helping create classrooms that are more inclusive. Three clusters of increasingly expansive teaching are presented: 1) adopting what works, 2) discovering what works, and 3) crafting what works, each more expansive than the previous one. The study includes suggestions for future research, practical application of the findings, and decision-making.