Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
Nancy J. Evans
This study explored whether faculty/student collaboration in learning communities can help fulfill faculty members' professional developmental needs, and if so, how these teaching experiences in learning communities benefit the faculty and their institution. The research sought to discover if faculty perceived that they experienced rejuvenation because of their participation in learning communities, and as a result of this rejuvenation, did they perceive that they had altered their pedagogy. And finally, the study investigated whether or not faculty perceived if their participation in learning communities affected their stand-alone classes and other college responsibilities such as committee work. This qualitative inquiry used an in-depth phenomenological interview process to seek the data. Six participants from a metropolitan community college in the Southwest were each interviewed three times. The first interview was a life story interview, which focused on teaching careers in general. The second interview asked each to reflect specifically on their learning community teaching experiences, and in the third interview, each was given the opportunity to make meaning from all teaching experiences and indicate if they felt learning communities had affected pedagogy and participation in college activities and responsibilities. The analysis of the transcribed interviews revealed the following themes: a passion for teaching; strong and positive attitudes about students; the importance of learning communities in their teaching experiences; a metaphor about marriage and their teaching partners; the multiple ways their pedagogy had been altered; the need for flexibility if participating in learning communities; and multiple types of faculty benefits, such as how faculty learn more when teaching with a partner, how they use collaboration, and how learning communities provide significant opportunities for faculty development. This study suggests that institutions contemplating starting learning community initiatives or alternative methods for faculty development would benefit from reading the rich descriptions embedded in the participants' stories. Finally, the study offers the rationale for beginning a learning community initiative because faculty and the institution have opportunities to gain significant benefits, such as synergy, a more creative faculty, and a faculty who are more willing to participate in additional academic responsibilities.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Randall Eugene Jedele
Jedele, Randall Eugene, "Teaching and learning in community: a phenomenological study of community college faculty pedagogy and learning communities" (2007). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 15963.