Campus Survey on the Status of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) by Health Sciences Faculty

By Burns, Shari; Merchant, Christine et al. | Education, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Campus Survey on the Status of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) by Health Sciences Faculty


Burns, Shari, Merchant, Christine, Appelt, Erin, Education


Introduction

Health sciences faculty join universities as teachers with clinical expertise. Their passion to advance clinical practice through teaching extends their clinical role into the classroom or simulation laboratory. However, many clinicians enter academia with little or no formal education regarding education concepts significant to the teaching learning process. How to teach, what methods exist, how students learn, curriculum development, assessment, and evaluation offer challenges to even the best clinicians. Similarly, research devoted to the process of education remains elusive as compared to research familiar to the clinicians' area of expertise. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) provides an opportunity for clinician faculty to learn, share, and execute research studies aimed at improving teaching and learning. Fostering SoTL projects requires faculty to be familiar with basic knowledge about scholarly activities linked to educational research. A gap in the literature exists regarding faculty knowledge and attitudes regarding SoTL as well as the degree of faculty involvement in SoTL on health sciences campuses.

Purpose

Based on the work of McKinney (2007) in a large, public university, the current study focused on views and involvement of health sciences faculty regarding SoTL. The purpose of the study was to obtain information about faculty views on and involvement with SoTL at two health sciences campuses. The study assessed the current status of SoTL on both campuses. Specifically, the study addressed the faculty respondent's attitude, experience, and knowledge of SoTL. Some, but not all of the results of the study were compared to those of McKinney (2007). New information regarding the relationship between faculty attitude, experience, knowledge and academic rank, college, degree, and clinical or tenure track were examined. Finally, the study represented original research documenting the views of health sciences faculty regarding SoTL.

The research question posed was: What are the attitudes, knowledge and experience of health sciences faculty regarding SoTL?

Method

A descriptive survey was used to collect information about faculty views on and involvement in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) at two health sciences campuses. Following IRB approval, an email link was sent to all faculties requesting voluntary participation in the short 10-minute on-line survey adapted with permission from Kathleen McKinney, Ph.D. We contacted Dr. McKinney became her original work is prominent in the SoTL literature, but were conducted at a public university. We desired to conduct a similar study at a health sciences university. The survey was adapted with recommendation by Dr. McKinney to align more closely with health sciences university faculty (Appendix A). SoTL has been defined in many ways. We chose a definition extrapolated from McKinney's work citing the Buffalo State College Policy statement (McKinney, 2007, p. 7): "integrates the experience of teaching with scholarship of research and produces scholarly products."

Analyses

Descriptive and statistical analyses were done using PASW Statistics 18. Data analysis included the calculation of frequencies, percentages and means. Comparisons of responses indicating experience and knowledge (see below) based on degree, instructional content, tenure status, college affiliation and academic rank were made using Fisher's exact test and x2. Attitudes regarding SoTL were explored using 15 items (see below) each ranked on a 5-point Likert scale (1-strongly disagree; 2-disagree; 3-neither disagree nor agree; 4 agree; 5 strongly agree). One way analysis of variance of the responses to this 15 items were done for difference by college affiliation, degree, instructional content (basic v professional), tenure status, academic rank, and administrative and non-administrative roles. …

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