Transferring teaching skills: Faculty development effects from a first-year inquiry program
Author(s): McClure, A. I., Atkinson, M. P., & Wills, J. B.
Citation: McClure, A. I., Atkinson, M. P., & Wills, J. B. (2008). Transferring teaching skills: Faculty development effects from a first-year inquiry program. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 20(1), 31-52.
Pedagogical literature focuses on the effectiveness of first-year programs on students' success in college. Less attention is devoted to the effects these programs have on faculty. In this study, focus groups were conducted with 20 faculty members who teach first-year seminars at North Carolina State University, a large, public research university. The goal was to investigate how participating in a first-year program influences how faculty teach their other courses. Faculty reported positive transfer effects in four areas of teaching: (a) reflecting on teaching methods, (b) using formal measures to assess critical thinking, (c) devoting class time to discussions about critical thinking, and (d) reevaluating how they see themselves as instructor. These findings highlight ways that structural elements of first-year programs, such as faculty training, peer mentoring, and involved membership in a teaching community, benefit participating faculty and the students they teach.