Documenting and Advancing an Organizational Landscape of Teaching-related Routines for Science and Engineering Faculty: Informing Teaching Improvement Initiatives’ Design and Implementation Public Deposited

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  • The numerous initiatives targeting postsecondary science education improvement are diverse. Yet a key strategy of many initiatives are new organizational routines, that can regularly bring faculty together to learn new teaching-related knowledge, skills, and commitments. Regardless of some evidence of the success of these initiatives, more theory-informed empirical investigations are needed to explain and predict their efficacy. Such research is especially important for designers and implementers to plan for successful initiatives in light of potential costs. We report on the standing organizational routines through which faculty from science and engineering units typically construct and transfer teaching-related knowledge. We describe characteristics of these routines that can act as affordances and barriers for attending to faculty members’ teaching-related concerns and encourage engagement of faculty in teaching-related improvement activities. We found diverse, shared organizational routines across units, including those created and maintained by faculty to attend to their diverse teaching-related interests. Certain routine types and characteristics both attended to faculty needs and promoted faculty participation in teaching improvement activities, namely routines that felt safe and inclusive, were of varying levels of formality, and that catered to diverse knowledge interests and needs. We identified a tension of educator autonomy which, via coupling with routine membership, can dissuade teaching improvements through constrained knowledge creation and transfer across educators. We discuss implications for those attempting to design and implement successful improvement initiatives, specifically comprehensive initiatives targeting institutions. Initiative proponents need to learn about and build from the routines that faculty have created, sustained, and engage in. Building on faculty knowledge and commitments, initiative designers and implementers can help cultivate a landscape of teaching improvement-related organizational routines that can encourage faculty participation in improvement-related activities and meet their teaching-related needs.
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