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Motivating Teaching Excellence: Lessons from U.S. Teaching Awards

Motivating Teaching Excellence: Lessons from U.S. Teaching Awards
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Author(s): Peter Felten (Elon Univeristy, USA) and Ashley Finley (Association of American Colleges and Universities, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 11
Source title: Cases on Quality Teaching Practices in Higher Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Diane J. Salter (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3661-3.ch014


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Despite the widespread use of teaching awards in the United States, little is known about whether such awards influence faculty attitudes or behaviors on teaching. Similarly, there is a lack of systematic evidence to understand what motivates faculty beliefs and actions on teaching. This chapter explores what motivates U.S. faculty toward innovation and excellence in teaching. Drawing from a national study of faculty across twenty colleges and universities, the authors find that, like other professionals, U.S. faculty highly value the support of their colleagues, particularly as it applies to innovating in the classroom and pursuing engaged learning practices. They argue there is compelling evidence to suggest that the presence of intrinsic rewards for innovation in teaching (e.g. opportunities to discuss pedagogy with colleagues and building a campus culture supportive of teaching) has greater impact on critical faculty outcomes, such as job satisfaction and commitment, than extrinsic rewards like teaching awards and even stipends.

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