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Title:Carrying the torch: Five faculty members’ experiences as champions of assessment
Author(s):Hackman, Erika R.
Director of Research:Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cain, Timothy R.; Hood, Denice W.; Jankowski, Natasha A.; Loui, Michael C.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Learning outcomes assessment
Community colleges
Community college faculty roles
Abstract:This phenomenological study examined the lived experience of community college faculty champions of learning outcomes assessment. This study sought to elucidate the experiences of faculty champions of assessment by exploring both what the participants experienced as well as how they experienced their roles in leading assessment work on their campus, in order to describe the essence of the faculty champions’ experience leading assessment work. Faculty champions of assessment at a community college were interviewed to explore: how they became engaged in learning outcomes assessment, how they describe the phenomenon of their engagement in learning outcomes assessment, and how they describe meaningful faculty support for engagement in learning outcomes assessment. Five faculty champions were selected to participate in this study, based on their substantial engagement in learning outcomes assessment at their community college. Data gathered from the five participants through two in-depth interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Data analysis and interpretation were guided by the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen (Moustakas, 1994) method of phenomenological analysis, as well as through the lens of organizational leadership theory using Bolman & Deal’s (2013) four-frame model for understanding organizational behavior. Key findings from this study suggest that paths of faculty champions of assessment in community colleges to their roles in assessment were unintentional and formative; participants also experienced strong connections between their assessment work and teaching, which facilitated their engagement as champions of assessment. Participants described distinct roles they experienced as champions of assessment, including the roles of leader, learner, implementer, teacher, analyst, partner, and advocate. This study suggests that whereas faculty champions experience their leadership roles as essential and meaningful, their engagement and leadership are further strengthened when they feel empowered and supported by administration; when they do not feel supported and empowered, they may withdraw and disengage from their roles as champions of assessment. This research contributes to the field of higher education by illuminating the experiences of faculty champions in assessment, and expanding researchers’ and practitioners’ understandings of the essential roles of faculty champions in leading assessment work. Results will be useful to inform administrators’ support of faculty champions, community college faculty members’ understanding of their important leadership roles in assessment, and the design of future qualitative and quantitative studies of faculty engagement in learning outcomes assessment.
Issue Date:2017-11-29
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Erika R. Hackman
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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