Faculty Focus Group Report

Purpose, Methods, and Participants

PURPOSE

The purpose of the faculty focus groups was to gather input from IUPUI faculty about the usefulness of particular classroom features and configurations in supporting their teaching strategies, in order to guide the design and development of future IUPUI classrooms. The focus group data gathering and analysis was completed by Terri Tarr, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Douglas Jerolimov, Instructional Consultant at IUPUI.

METHODS

Faculty recruitment for the focus groups used a purposeful sampling approach. CTL had previously contacted school deans for names of faculty members in leadership roles related to teaching and learning in their school.  Those school representatives were asked to provide names of faculty who are thoughtful about teaching and learning and might be good candidates to participate in focus group discussions. They were told that appropriate candidates for the focus groups would ideally include:

  1. Faculty who teach in IUPUI’s General Inventory classrooms (classrooms scheduled by IUPUI’s Registrar)
  2. Faculty members of any rank or status (e.g., full- or part-time, tenured, tenure-track or non-tenure track)
  3. Faculty interested in joining in a focus group discussion with other faculty about their teaching approaches, and how classroom spaces might be designed to facilitate their teaching and student learning

Terri Tarr or Douglas Jerolimov personally invited those faculty whom each school listed. Some school contacts who were invited to participate did not send names of potential focus group participants, so the CTL also recruited participants via an email invitation to a list of associate faculty. Invited faculty were given multiple focus group dates and were able to register for their preferred date.

The focus group guiding protocol began with questions to elicit information about faculty practices in the classroom, and then moved to generating a discussion about the effectiveness of various classroom designs, configurations, furniture, digital affordances, and other features. To spur faculty discussion, a slide deck displayed images of a variety of classroom designs and affordances.

In spring 2018, ten focus groups were conducted with a total of 43 full-time and part-time faculty members. Due to technical difficulties, data from one of the focus groups was not available for analysis; therefore, this report is based on data from nine focus groups and the 39 faculty members who participated in those focus groups. Center for Teaching and Learning staff and IUPUI Classroom Needs Analysis Committee members facilitated and took notes during the focus groups, which were also recorded. Analysis took into account both transcripts from the recordings and notes taken during the focus groups. See the Back Matter of this report for the focus group protocol, the learning space examples used to prompt discussion, and a handout given to participants to record their thoughts about the learning space examples.

PARTICIPANT CHARACTERISTICS

Female 22 56.4%
Male 17 43.6%
Adjunct Instructor 2 5.1%
Lecturer 13 18.8%
Senior Lecturer 1 2.6%
Visiting Lecturer 1 2.6%
Assistant Professor 5 12.8%
Associate Professor 6 15.3%
Professor 4 5.8%
Clinical Assistant Professor 4 5.8%
Clinical Associate Professor 2 5.1%
Visiting Clinical Associate Professor 1 2.6%
  • 56% of participants were female; 44% were male
  • Participants represented a wide variety of ranks
      • 38.4% of participants were tenured or tenure-track
      • 38.4% of participants were non-tenure track in a lecturer category
      • 17.9% of participants had a clinical rank
  • Part-time faculty were underrepresented, comprising only 5% of the sample

PARTICIPANT SCHOOLS

Number of Participants
Science 11
Engineering & Technology 9
Philanthropy 4
SPEA 4
Business 3
PETM 3
Education 3
Liberal Arts 1
Nursing 1
  • STEM fields were overrepresented in the focus groups

ACADEMIC LEVEL OF COURSES TAUGHT

Undergraduate level only 25 64.1%
Both undergraduate and graduate level 13 33.3%
Graduate level only 1 2.6%
  • 97.4% teach at the undergraduate level
  • 35.9% teach at the graduate level

NUMBER OF STUDENTS IN CLASSES TAUGHT

Small only 14 35.9%
Small and medium 8 23.1%
Small, medium, and large 6 15.4%
Small and large 5 12.8%
Medium only 2 5.1%
Medium and large 2 5.1%
Large only 1 2.6%
  • Small=under 50; medium=50-99; large=100+
  • 84.6% teach some small classes
  • 46.2% teach some medium-sized classes
  • 35.9% teach some large classes

ACTIVITIES DURING CLASS MEETINGS

Group Work 34 87.2%
Lecture 25 64.1%
Discussion 23 59.0%
Problem-solving 13 33.3%
Project Work 7 17.9%
Student Presentations 6 15.4%
Video 5 12.8%
Teaching Demonstration 4 10.3%
Peer-led Team Learning 3 7.7%
Case-based Instruction 3 7.7%
Student Peer Review 2 5.1%
Peer Instruction 2 5.1%
  • Group work was reported by the largest number of participants
  • Lecture and discussion were reported by over half of the participants
  • Problem-solving was reported by one-third of the participants
  • All but one participant who reporting lecturing also reported using other non-lecture activities
  • Activities named by single participants are not listed here and tended to be fairly specific

License

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IUPUI Classroom Needs Analysis 2018 by The Trustees of Indiana University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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