Improving faculty self-efficacy, mindsets


Teaching practices make a difference. As do comprehensive professional development programs on effective teaching practices.

A new Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) study gauging ACUE’s Effective Teaching Practice Framework courses finds that they significantly boost participants’ confidence in their teaching abilities and foster more positive mindsets about their teaching and their students.

That mindset can also rub off on students whose instructors took the ACUE program. Surveyed students reported they felt more confident in participating in class, attending office hours and managing their coursework and deadlines, the study says.

“Mindsets matter. What we believe about our students’ ability to learn affects what they will learn or won’t,” Jonathan Gyurko, ACUE president and co-founder, said in a release. “Even though beliefs are famously hard to change, today’s strong findings show that minds change when professors become better teachers. It’s more evidence that the best way to educate many more students for purposeful lives is to ensure effective instruction in every class.”

The study — funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — is based on an analysis of survey results of faculty who teach gateway courses, with data collected from more than 570 faculty who participated in ACUE’s effective teaching program, as well as more than 1,000 faculty not yet certified. Over the course of two years, faculty were surveyed four times. Nearly 3,000 students enrolled in a gateway course taught by the ACUE faculty were also surveyed.

The participants came from 10 higher education institutions, including six community colleges and two-year college organizations — Borough of Manhattan Community College (New York), Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (Ohio), Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio), Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana), Lorain County Community College (Ohio) and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.

ACUE noted that although the study pertained specifically to ACUE’s program, the findings may apply to other comprehensive faculty development efforts.

What was measured

The surveys were used to assess how participating faculty viewed their role as educators, their self-efficacy in using effective teaching practices, their use of courseware and digital tools in gateway courses, and their awareness of and attitudes toward their college’s initiatives regarding gateway courses, ACUE said. Student surveys aimed to assess their perceptions of their instructors’ instructional practices, growth mindset, academic self-efficacy, belonging, perceptions of campus climate and attitudes toward their college’s student success efforts.

Faculty participants showed significant improvements in their overall teaching self-efficacy and mindsets, including perceived teaching effectiveness, teaching improvement behaviors and enthusiasm to teach, the study says. Analysis of students’ surveys showed increases in their perceived academic self-efficacy, particularly in communication and self-monitoring, like keeping up to date with coursework.

The report added that one area for future research is to measure the effectiveness of faculty’s improved self-efficacy and mindset on student course outcomes.

“By examining student course performance (e.g., grades and completion rates) in conjunction with in-depth data on faculty mindsets and self-efficacy, we can more fully assess the extent to which comprehensive faculty development programs influence teaching effectiveness and student learning,” the study says. “This line of inquiry would shed light on the potential ripple effects of faculty self-efficacy and mindsets on student success and provide valuable insights for institutions aiming to improve student outcomes.”

The association added that further research may also dive into the specific components and mechanisms in the ACUE program — modules, activities and instructional strategies — where researchers may identify the elements that have the most substantial impact on faculty perceptions.

About the Author

Daily Staff
CCDaily is published by the American Association of Community Colleges.
The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.