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ERIC Number: ED559499
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 150
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3032-9990-2
Biology Faculty at Large Research Institutions: The Nature of Their Pedagogical Content Knowledge
Hill, Kathleen M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
To address the need of scientists and engineers in the United States workforce and ensure that students in higher education become scientifically literate, research and policy has called for improvements in undergraduate education in the sciences. One particular pathway for improving undergraduate education in the science fields is to reform undergraduate teaching. Only a limited number of studies have explored the pedagogical content knowledge of postsecondary level teachers. This study was conducted to characterize the PCK of biology faculty and explore the factors influencing their PCK. Data included semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, documents, and instructional artifacts. A qualitative inquiry was designed to conduct an in-depth investigation focusing on the PCK of six biology instructors, particularly the types of knowledge they used for teaching biology, their perceptions of teaching, and the social interactions and experiences that influenced their PCK. The findings of this study reveal that the PCK of the biology faculty included eight domains of knowledge: (1) content, (2) context, (3) learners and learning, (4) curriculum, (5) instructional strategies, (6) representations of biology, (7) assessment, and (8) building rapport with students. Three categories of faculty PCK emerged: (1) PCK as an expert explainer, (2) PCK as an instructional architect, and (3) a transitional PCK, which fell between the two prior categories. Based on the interpretations of the data, four social interactions and experiences were found to influence biology faculty PCK: (1) teaching experience, (2) models and mentors, (3) collaborations about teaching, and (4) science education research. The varying teaching perspectives of the faculty also influenced their PCK. This study shows that the PCK of biology faculty for teaching large introductory courses at large research institutions is heavily influenced by factors beyond simply years of teaching experience and expert content knowledge. Social interactions and experiences created by the institution play a significant role in developing the PCK of biology faculty. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A