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A case study on the influence of organizational structures and policies on faculty implementation of learner-centered teaching

<p> In their seminal 1995 article, Barr and Tagg encouraged higher education to think differently about undergraduate education and suggested that a new paradigm be adopted that focused less on what is taught and more on what is learned. Dubbed the learner-centered paradigm, this reframing of education challenges long standing practices and removes the instructor as the literal and figurative center of the classroom, requiring that students take a more active role in their education and in the creation of knowledge. </p><p> Despite the fact that empirical research consistently finds that practices congruent with the learner-centered paradigm greatly benefits students, full-scale adoption of the paradigm has been slow across the higher education landscape. The SCALE-UP program that emerged out of North Carolina State University, however, has provided institutions with a model for how learner-centered teaching techniques can be leveraged in large enrollment courses and hundreds of institutions across the globe have successfully adopted this program. </p><p> In this multiple case study of two large, public institutions that have adopted SCALE-UP, this study provides insight into how faculty implementation of learner-centered teaching and learning practices is influenced by organizational structures and policies and how they can encourage and support faculty transition to a learner-centered practice. Findings suggest that these included policies and structures that involve: 1) institutional leadership; 2) finance and academic departmental influence and configurations; 3) faculty training and development programs; 4) physical facilities; and 5) incentives to learn, develop, and maintain new practices. </p><p> Extrapolated from the findings that emerged through this research are a number of implications and recommendations: Support and advocacy from institutional leadership is critical for the initiation and sustainment of paradigm change, academic departments can create learner-centered cultures that encourage and support learner-centered teaching practices, provide meaningful opportunities for faculty to become exposed to the learner-centered paradigm and create ongoing training and professional development to support related teaching and learning practices, invest in the creation of physical active-learning structures, create policies and structures that provide meaningful incentives for faculty to adopt learner-centered teaching practices, and strategically connect learner-centered practices and initiatives taking place across campus. </p>
Date15 July 2016
CreatorsPiskadlo, Kevin Scott
PublisherUniversity of Massachusetts Boston
Detected LanguageEnglish

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