Community College Human Anatomy and Physiology Faculty’s Professional Growth The Influence of Prior Knowledge and Experience on Pedagogical Change

Main Article Content

Laura C. Seithers
Audrey Rose Hyson
Kerry Hull
Murray S. Jensen


This article examines the backgrounds and pedagogical evolution of twelve community college (CC) human anatomy and physiology faculty participating in a larger study known as the Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) project. Using qualitative analysis of interviews based on Luft & Roehrig’s (2007) Teacher Belief Interview (TBI), this article explores how prior experiences influenced CC faculty’s teaching beliefs and practices. Results indicated that despite limited access to professional development opportunities, CC faculty drew on their own experiences as learners, teaching experience, and classroom experimentation to reorient their beliefs toward effective science teaching. To better align their new beliefs with their classroom practice, they joined the CAPER project professional development opportunity. Findings reflect patterns identified in Clarke and Hollingsworth’s (2002) Interconnected Model of Professional Growth (ICMPG) highlighting the importance of instructors’ prior knowledge and intrinsic motivation. Given that community colleges serve a substantial share of higher education students today, this study has important implications for professional development and classroom research opportunities for CC and other higher education faculty.

Article Details

Research / Empirical
Author Biographies

Laura C. Seithers, University of Minnesota

Laura C. Seithers recently completed a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include teacher change, narrative methods, the internationalization of higher education, and women’s transnational mobility.

Audrey Rose Hyson, University of Minnesota

Audrey Rose Hyson is a PhD candidate in Comparative Education at the University of Minnesota. She has taught in K-12 and university classrooms in the US and China. In addition, she has co-authored several tri-lingual textbooks and worked as a teacher trainer to support in-service teachers with active learning techniques.

Kerry Hull, Bishop's University

Kerry Hull is a Professor of Biology at Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada. Her research focuses on the development and implementation of active learning strategies in Anatomy and Physiology courses. She is currently serving as the Editor in Chief of the HAPS Educator, the journal of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society.

Murray S. Jensen, University of Minnesota

Murray S. Jensen’s research focuses on how to implement Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) within entry-level anatomy and physiology courses. More specifically, he works on developing continuing education opportunities for educators who wish to promote inquiry and cooperative group learning within their classrooms. He also works on how to best use SCALE-UP / active learning classrooms with entry-level science courses.