University of Michigan

      National Center for Postsecondary Improvement

        Project 5.3 on Student Learning and Assessment


                Faculty Interview Protocol

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Institutions: _________________________________________________________


Interviewee (Title and Name): ___________________________________________


Interviewer:  ________________________________________________________


Survey Section Used:   

            _____ A: Interview Background


            _____  B: Institutional Perspective


            _____  C: Assessment


            _____  D: Department and Discipline


            _____  E: Teaching and Learning


            _____  F: Demographics (no specific questions)


            Other Topics Discussed:





Documents Obtained: ______________________________________________________






Post Interview Comments or Leads:




Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Interviews

Introductory Protocol


To facilitate our note-taking, we would like to audio tape our conversations today. Please sign the release form. For your information, only researchers on the project will be privy to the tapes which will be eventually destroyed after they are transcribed. In addition, you must sign a form devised to meet our human subject requirements. Essentially, this document states that: (1) all information will be held confidential, (2) your participation is voluntary and you may stop at any time if you feel uncomfortable, and (3) we do not intend to inflict any harm. Thank you for your agreeing to participate.


We have planned this interview to last no longer than one hour. During this time, we have several questions that we would like to cover. If time begins to run short, it may be necessary to interrupt you in order to push ahead and complete this line of questioning.





            You have been selected to speak with us today because you have been identified as someone who has a great deal to share about teaching, learning, and assessment on this campus. Our research project as a whole focuses on the improvement of teaching and learning activity, with particular interest in understanding how faculty in academic programs are engaged in this activity, how they assess student learning, and whether we can begin to share what we know about making a difference in undergraduate education. Our study does not aim to evaluate your techniques or experiences. Rather, we are trying to learn more about teaching and learning, and hopefully learn about faculty practices that help improve student learning on campus.



A.                 Interviewee Background


How long have you been …


_______ in your present position?


_______ at this institution?


Interesting background information on interviewee:







What is your highest degree? _______________________________________________


What is your field of study?   _______________________________________________


1.            Briefly describe your role (office, committee, classroom, etc.) as it relates to student learning and assessment (if appropriate).

            Probes: How are you involved in teaching, learning, and assessment here?

                         How did you get involved?      



2.            What motivates you to use innovative teaching and/or assessment techniques in yor teaching?


B.                 Institutional Perspective


1.                  What is the strategy at this institution for improving teaching, learning, and assessment?

                Probes: Is it working – why or why not?

                             Purpose, development, administration, recent initiatives


2.                  What resources are available to faculty for improving teaching and assessment techniques?


3.                  What rewards do faculty receive from the institution for engaging in innovative teaching/learning and assessment strategies?

                 Probe: Do you see a widening of the circle of participants here on campus?


4.         What is changing about teaching, learning, and assessment on this campus?

                 Probe: What is being accomplished through campus-based initiatives?

                            What kinds of networks do you see developing surrounding teaching/learning reforms?


5.                  Have you or your colleagues encountered resistance to these reforms in your department? . . . on campus?



C.                 Assessment


1.                  How do you go about assessing whether students grasp the material you present in class?

      Probe: Do you use evidence of student learning in your assessment of classroom strategies?


2.         What kinds of assessment techniques tell you the most about what students are learning?

                        Probe: What kinds of assessment most accurately capture what students are learning?     


3.         Are you involved in evaluating teaching, learning, and assessment practices at either the department or campus level? How is this achieved?


4.         How is the assessment of student learning used to improve teaching/learning in your department? …. on campus?




D.                 Department and Discipline



1.         What are some of the major challenges your department faces in attempting to change teaching, learning, and assessment practices? What are the major opportunities?


            Probes: How can barriers be overcome?

                         How can opportunities be maximized?


2.         To what extent are teaching-related activities evaluated at your institutions? . . . in your department?

            Probe: How is “good teaching” rewarded?


3.         To what extent is teaching and assessment valued within your discipline?


E.         Teaching and Learning


1.         Describe how teaching, learning, and assessment practices are improving on this campus

            Probe: How do you know? (criteria, evidence)


2.         Is the assessment of teaching and learning a major focus of attention and discussion here?

            Probe: why or why not? (reasons, influences)


3.         What specific new teaching or assessment practices have you implemented in your classes?


4.         Are there any particular characteristics that you associate with faculty who are interested in innovative teaching/learning initiatives?


5.         What types of faculty development opportunities do you see emerging on your campus that focus on teaching and learning strategies for the classroom? (Institutional or disciplinary?)


Probes: What motivates you to participate in instructional development programs on campus?

            How frequently do you attend such programs?

            How are these programs advertised to faculty?


F.         Demographics





Post Interview Comments and/or Observations:






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