A mixed methods investigation of the faculty teaching role: Values, intention, and practice

Robin L Dankovich, University of Texas at El Paso


This research is a mixed methods investigation of the faculty teaching role through the exploration of values, intentions and practice of college professors. To compliment the research questions the literature review explores the forces shaping the professoriate over time, contemporary context of higher education, values, and conceptions of teaching. To frame the discussion Argyris and Schön’s (1974) theory of espoused values and values in use is coupled with the codification of human strengths offered by positive psychology. The results of the study indicate that all faculty espoused values focused on love of learning, honesty, fairness and judgement. Those interviewed provided additional insight on teaching approach where engaging students, creating real world connections and encouraging critical thinking were central. Faculty had positive views of their students and felt they were capable of success yet expressed concerns about inadequate preparation for college level work. Despite that, professors had a great degree of empathy for this student population by recognizing their commitment, sacrifice and challenges they face. Qualitative analysis revealed a central theme related to institutional context and the pressures that the faculty experience. Faculty articulated concerns about mixed messages and a perceived lack of support for teaching on campus. Arguably, most indicated a true passion and dedication to teaching, but both pre-tenured female faculty and older male faculty expressed a heightened concern about the pressures that a shifting institutional mission is causing. Despite clear issues perceived by faculty regarding climate, teaching observations indicated a congruence between espoused and enacted values in teaching practice. The flexibility of the faculty role has provided a means for faculty to flourish and enact their values thus maximizing meaning in their work. Also, early career faculty expressed challenges from pressures to serve an underprepared student population and demands for high scholarly output. As a whole the faculty are committed to the region, the students they serve and are truly dedicated to their role as teachers. A concluding discussion offers suggestions for improving faculty development, campus climate and support initiatives. Suggestions of implications and further studies are also made.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Dankovich, Robin L, "A mixed methods investigation of the faculty teaching role: Values, intention, and practice" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10251850.