Review and assessment of an evidence-based professional development program to promote active learning pedagogical practices in the classroom

Lydia Ross, Stephen J. Krause, Keith D. Hjelmstad, Eugene Judson, Lindy Hamilton Mayled, Robert J. Culbertson, Kara L. Hjelmstad, Sarah Hoyt, Kristi Glassmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A substantial body of prior research demonstrates the efficacy of active learning pedagogical practices. In particular, student-centered teaching strategies have been shown to promote greater levels of student engagement, achievement, and retention. Despite strong evidence in favor of student-centered teaching strategies, the majority of faculty continue to use the more traditional lecture format, or instructor-centered teaching practices, in their own classrooms. As such, there is a strong need for professional development to increase faculty awareness and use of active learning pedagogical practices. This complete research-based paper discusses a successful faculty development program designed to increase awareness and use of student-centered, or active learning, pedagogical practices amongst a multi-disciplinary group of engineering faculty. The JTFD professional development program was a multi-disciplinary program at a large southwestern university in the United States and was funded through NSF's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE). Following a train-the-trainer model, the professional development program involved multiple cohorts across seven engineering disciplines. In their first year in the program, faculty (n=82) participated in a series of 8 biweekly workshops over the fall semester and 6 communities of practice (CoP) sessions in the spring semester. Topics discussed during the workshops and CoP sessions included active learning, cooperation, student motivation, Bloom's taxonomy, and inclusive teaching practices. In the second year of the program, faculty participated in eight continuing communities of practice sessions. A detailed discussion of program results will be presented in the final paper. Key highlights include a significant increase, 13%, in faculty use of active learning strategies after participating in the program. All participants reported that the program was a valuable use of their time and that they would recommend this program to a colleague. This paper describes the program structure, best practices for managing professional development programs, evaluation framework and strategy, major program results, and concludes with a discussion of key takeaways for moving forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1205
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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