Three Models for Faculty Inquiry Groups

November 14, 2008

SPECC campuses explored many models for bringing people together in faculty inquiry groups, which varied depending on the circumstances of the college, the history of faculty collaboration in developmental education, the creativity of the coordinators, and the purpose at hand. Some groups emphasized individual projects; others focused on a theme of common concern. Some involved colleagues from across disciplines; some were specific to teachers of sections of the same course. At one campus, staff from the Teaching and Learning Center facilitated faculty inquiry groups; at another, faculty with special responsibility for coordinating basic skills instruction did the job. Laney College used a special model of “reflective inquiry” to conduct its faculty inquiry groups; others developed highly structured activities (like CCSF’s student focus group exchange); and many ended up with a productive mix. As Katie Hern noted of Chabot College:

We’ve done three kinds of faculty inquiry in the SPECC grant-from primarily solo inquiries like my sustainability research (which was then shared and discussed in broader faculty forums), to our developmental English Faculty Inquiry Group focused around Student Learning Outcomes in one class, to the multi-disciplinary Faculty Inquiry Group with social science that connects individual inquiries by each faculty member with a central question around “How can we all be basic skills teachers while still addressing content coverage. (2008)

With all of these possibilities in play, it is clear that the potential of faculty inquiry to improve basic skills instruction goes beyond informing classroom teaching and extends to the design of the courses and programs that particular classrooms serve. (13)

Adapted from Mary Taylor Huber, The Promise of Faculty Inquiry for Teaching and Learning Basic Skills. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 2008. Strengthening Pre-Collegiate Education in the Community Colleges.

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