Scaling and assessment of an evidence-based faculty development program for promoting active learning pedagogical strategies

Lydia Ross, Lindy Hamilton Mayled, Stephen J. Krause, Eugene Judson, Keith D. Hjelmstad, James A. Middleton, Robert J. Culbertson, Casey Jane Ankeny, Ying Chih Chen, Kara L. Hjelmstad, Kristi Glassmeyer, Sarah Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This complete research-based paper explores a successful faculty development program aimed at increasing awareness and use of evidence-based pedagogical strategies among engineering faculty across multiple disciplines. Research demonstrates that student-centered, or active learning, strategies promote greater student learning and achievement. Despite this evidence, however, the majority of engineering faculty still employ teacher-centered strategies, or the traditional lecture method, in their classrooms. Therefore, there is a strong need for professional development to increase faculty awareness and use of student-centered teaching strategies. The setting for this professional development program, which is funded through NSF's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program, is a large, public university in the southwest United States. This large-scale professional development program utilizes a train-the-trainer model where faculty across seven engineering disciplines participate in eight biweekly workshops and six biweekly community of practice (CoP) sessions to engage faculty over a one-year period. In this paper, we discuss the creation and scaling of the faculty development program. In particular, we describe the structure and management of the program, strategies and topics covered, assessment/evaluation, and key takeaways. This professional development program utilizes a train-the-trainer model, where two people from different engineering disciplines are recruited to become disciplinary leader pairs (DLPs). The DLPs go through the program (8 workshops in the fall semester and 6 workshops in the spring semester) under the direction of the project leaders/PIs. Then the following year, the DLPs become the “trainers,” where they lead the workshops and community of practice sessions for a group of faculty, ranging from 8 to 15 people from their own discipline. The program consists of 8 biweekly workshops, which covers Bloom's taxonomy, learning objectives, interactive classes, active and cooperative learning, muddiest points, tech tools, and fostering inclusive learning environments. The following semester, faculty participate in semi-structured CoP sessions to discuss challenges/successes of implementing active learning strategies and to share ideas. The professional development program was evaluated through multiple methods, including surveys from faculty, classroom observations, and student achievement data. Data collection and instruments are discussed in greater detail in this paper. Key highlights include a 13% in average use of active learning strategies by faculty after participating in the program. Additionally, we observed an average increase of 34% in reported increase in use of formative feedback pedagogical practices after the program. All of the faculty participants reported that the professional development program would be valuable to future instructional practice and career success. All participants also reported that they would recommend this professional development program to their colleagues. This paper describes the creation and scaling, structure and implementation, and assessment of a large-scale, successful professional development program. We conclude by discussing key takeaways and lessons learned from the professional development program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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