Theses Doctoral

The Professoriate in an Age of Assessment and Accountability: Understanding Faculty Response to Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and the Collegiate Learning Assessment

Delaney, Esther Hong

This dissertation examines the increasingly prominent and expansive role of student learning outcomes and student learning outcomes assessment in bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. As higher education institutions integrate assessment into the curriculum, the voices of faculty remain largely unheard. Therefore, this study sought to reveal their voice, and in so doing, try to understand why collective faculty response to student learning outcomes assessment like the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) varies among undergraduate institutions. In asking this question, I wanted to understand how faculty perceive assessment impacting their professions, their identity as professors, and their role in the institution.
Using a multi-case study, qualitative design, I selected four small, private institutions. The fifth institution that participated in my study was a mid-sized, public institution. Participants consisted of faculty and administrators in each institution involved in governance, curriculum, and assessment. The primary method of data collection was semi-structured interviews.
In this age of student learning outcomes assessment, my research showed that faculty are navigating, negotiating, and renegotiating their position and role within the institution; grappling with defining how, and if, assessment is part of the professorial role; and working in concert, and sometimes in conflict, with administrators to establish the jurisdiction of assessment. This study fills a gap in the professionalization literature by addressing more fully the interaction of professionalized roles in organizations and the interaction of professional groups within an organization. I also offer directions for further research.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociology and Education
Thesis Advisors
Pallas, Aaron M.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 12, 2015