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Faculty teaching climate: scale construction and initial validation

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Title: Faculty teaching climate: scale construction and initial validation
Author(s): Knorek, John K.
Director of Research: Rounds, James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Loui, Michael C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Rounds, James; Connolly, Mark; Aragon, Steven R.
Department / Program: Educational Psychology
Discipline: Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Teaching climate academic cultures scale construction faculty development learning
Abstract: The concept “academic culture” has been used as a framework to understand faculty work in higher education. Academic culture research builds on organizational psychology concepts of culture and climate to better understand employee practices and work phenomenon. Ample research has investigated faculty teaching at the disciplinary and institutional level; however, a relatively small body of literature exists on “departmental culture.” Cultural analysis has consistently identified a number of teaching culture categories in higher education. However, culture is commonly cited as a difficult construct to study, challenging scholars to clarify how it is defined, assessed, and relates to faculty teaching practice. Scholars have suggested that academic culture be analyzed at the department level, which is the immediate environment in which faculty operate on a daily basis. However, researchers have yet to develop a measure that assesses teaching culture at the department level. The present study constructed a measure to assess “teaching climate” at the department level. Items were generated from categories derived from an extensive literature review and consultations with experts in the field; faculty familiar with scale construction revised initial items. A pilot study provided initial data to help revise the Department Teaching Climate (DTC) scale, provided preliminary psychometrics, and determined scale structure. A main study provided further psychometric evidence for the scale across an array of disciplines and institutions in higher education. Internal reliability estimates were determined by correlation analyses. Construct validity was established by correlating the DTC scale to conceptually meaningful constructs: student teaching evaluations, faculty teaching behaviors, and administrative interviews. ii There is little theoretical support available to posit a hypothesis about the structure of the scale. However, based on this study’s inductive and deductive item generation process, the DTC scale was expected to be multidimensional. Due to methodological changes in the main study and to more accurately reflect the nature of the measure, the name of the scale was changed to Faculty Teaching Climate (FTC). Results indicated that the FTC scale has three distinct subscales and has moderate psychometric support. The FTC scale can inform administration and faculty development expert’s efforts to improve teaching climate and faculty teaching related work. The FTC scale can also be used in other areas of research, such as institutional assessment, student learning and success, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Ultimately, the FTC scale is a valuable tool that addresses the need to clarify academic cultures and the role they play in faculty work.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34199
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 John K. Knorek
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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