2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 272-12
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


CHAPMAN, LeeAnna Young and MCCONNELL, David, Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695, ltyoung@ncsu.edu

Approximately one third of STEM PhD students will become college faculty. These instructors will be responsible for creating and managing classes of all sizes containing students with a diverse range of life experiences. However, few graduate students receive training on how to effectively design lessons for these challenging teaching environments. Professional development is the primary way to influence how instructors present knowledge to their students. Many professional development opportunities that focus on teaching are available for future faculty, but which ones influence a shift toward more student-centered pedagogy that has been shown to enhance student learning?

We analyzed data from a population of 60 potential future faculty who were representative of a larger population of more than 600 graduate students and post-docs who completed the Beliefs about Reformed Teaching and Learning (BARSTL) survey. We utilized the Teacher Belief Interview (TBI), a semi-structured interview with coding maps to explore the epistemological beliefs of these 60 graduate students and post-docs. The pedagogical beliefs of instructors impact how they structure their courses and whether they choose to use research-validated teaching methods that have been shown to improve student learning. The interview allows for in-depth exploration of participants’ teaching beliefs. TBI results show that participation in any professional development related to teaching beyond a short, required teaching assistant orientation has a significant (p=0.025) impact on TBI score with a large effect size (Cohen’s d=0.65). The length of the experience is also influential. Participation in a semester-long experience is significant (p=0.008) with very large effect size (Cohen’s d=0.97). We will present the qualitative analysis of interview data to discuss how we can best prepare our graduate students and post-docs for success in future careers.