Community of practice among faculty team-teaching education doctorate (ED.D.) students: A reflective study

Christopher Michael Clark, Kate Olson, Ozge Hacıfazlıoğlu, David L. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aim/Purpose The purpose of the study was to contribute to knowledge about the ways in which incorporating a Community of Practice into doctoral seminar teaching and course management could be a practical and sustainable path to professional development for doctoral faculty aspiring to become stewards of the practice of teaching. Background This report documents a reflective self-study conducted by four professors engaged in a community of practice while team-teaching a linked pair of EdD seminars on action research at Arizona State University. Methodology This reflective study used field notes and written reflections as its sources of data to examine how participants’ identities as professors of education changed during and after participating in a team-taught professional doctoral pair of courses. Contribution An important goal of the community of practice was to promote faculty professional development as stewards of the practice of teaching. Engaging in disciplined reflection on teaching is uncommon in American graduate education and rarely documented in the literature of post-compulsory education. Findings Analysis of post-hoc reflective accounts and contemporaneous notes revealed a general pattern of gradual transformation by the teaching team members. The professors moved from anxious concern about appearing competent to growing confidence and appreciation for the potential of a community of practice to provide significant professional benefits to students and faculty. Salutary features of reflective team teaching in a community of practice persist in participants’ subsequent teaching practice. Recommendations Reported benefits include eagerness for team teaching, increased openness to for Practitioners pedagogical suggestions from peers, comfort with being observed by colleagues while teaching, and willingness to revise plans when initial plans and practices are not working effectively for students. Recommendations Data analysis and testimony support the claim that engaging in a CoP, in this for Researchers case, did support their identity transformation as stewards of their own practice as instructors and professors of education. However, the study design does not support a claim that most or all future Communities of Practice in doctoral education will produce similar salutary results. Testing this proposition will require additional research in settings and programs different from the one represented here. Impact on Society Implementing communities of practice in doctoral programs can make room for professional development for both the faculty team and for the students. Future Research Further studies could be conducted to document the ways in which other communities of practice can be used to develop faculty instructors in masters and doctoral programs and in undergraduate education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-393
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Doctoral Studies
StatePublished - 2021


  • Community of practice
  • Doctoral seminar
  • Reflective self-study
  • Stewards of practice
  • Systematic reflection
  • Team teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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