International Education Research

International Education Research

ISSN: 2291-5273 (Print)    ISSN: 2291-5281 (Online)

Volume 2 (2014), No. 3, Pages 18-40

DOI: 10.12735/ier.v2i3p18

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Professors' Perceived Barriers and Incentives for Teaching Improvement

Zaynab Sabagh1  Alenoush Saroyan1 

1Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

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Continuous engagement in teaching improvement is required if professors are to gain the essential knowledge base for effective teaching in ever changing contexts. However, research suggests that professors are not always willing to engage in teaching improvement activities and thus may employ less effective teaching methods that can, in turn, negatively impact student learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate which factors professors perceived as being hindering or motivating to engage in teaching improvement activities. Data were collected from 146 professors from a Canadian research-intensive university. Participants responded to two open-ended questions comprising a subset of a larger survey on engagement in teaching improvement. Specifically, the questions elicited professors’ perceived barriers and incentives for teaching improvement. Lack of time and a university culture that was not conducive to teaching were identified as the most significant barriers. Greater recognition for teaching and creating a reward system for excellence in teaching were highlighted as the most desirable incentives. Moreover, a comparison was made between tenured and non-tenured participants with respect to perceptions of incentives and barriers. A university culture that is not conducive to teaching was perceived as more hindering for teaching improvement for non-tenured professors. Findings are insightful for stakeholders, in particular educational developers and policy makers to develop and implement strategies to remove barriers and reinforce motivating factors for teaching development.

Keywords: teaching improvement, incentives, barriers, higher education, tenure status

To Cite this Article: Sabagh, Z., & Saroyan, A. (2014). Professors' perceived barriers and incentives for teaching improvement. International Education Research, 2(3), 18-40.

Copyright © Zaynab Sabagh & Alenoush Saroyan

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This article is published under license to Science and Education Centre of North America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Professors' Perceived Barriers and Incentives for Teaching Improvement