STEM Faculty Teaching Practices

STEM Faculty Teaching Practices

Kyle Fassett– In November, we presented a poster at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). It sought to look at the changes in teaching practices of STEM faculty at master’s institutions over the course of 10 years. The study used data from the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) from the years 2007, 2012, and 2017 with nearly 3,800 respondents in total.

Master’s institutions were selected as faculty often have split-loads of research and teaching, controlling for major differences that we would expect from doctoral or baccalaureate schools. We found that passive types of teaching like lecturing have decreased over time and active classroom practices such as small group discussion have increased. These findings are important because extant literature has indicated active learning styles yield greater outcomes, such as grades and retention of knowledge. Additionally, it was found that women implemented these practices more so than their male counterparts.

We appreciated the session format providing increased engagement with attendees to share findings and to receive quality feedback. It was fantastic to have many conversations about the implications of the work. Questions that were raised included:

  • Why do these differences exist?
  • Are women faculty being compensated for the additional prep work required to create active learning environments?
  • How are the practices represented or weighted in tenure/promotion?

Several attendees recommended to look at if there are institutional differences in the teaching practices, differences between faculty of color practices, and ways to match student perspectives on teaching to faculty practices. These were greatly appreciated and will likely lead to more research!

You can find the poster on our website, the associated report, and SPSS Syntax!