How Faculty Discipline and Beliefs Influence Instructional Uses of Writing in STEM Undergraduate Courses at Research-Intensive Universities
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Abstract

How faculty discipline and beliefs influence instructional uses of writing in STEM undergraduate courses at research-intensive universities

Robert J. Thompson Jr., Solaire A. Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Ginger V. Shultz, Anne Ruggles Gere, Lorrie Schmid, Jason E. Dowd, Menna Mburi, Leslie A. Schiff, Pamela Flash and Julie A. Reynolds (2021)
Journal of Writing Research, 12(3), 625-656

Efforts to accelerate the pace of adoption of writing-to-learn (WTL) practices in undergraduate STEM courses have been limited by a lack of theoretical and conceptual frameworks to systematically guide research and empirical evidence about the extent to which intrapersonal attributes and contextual factors, particularly faculty beliefs and disciplinary cultures, influence faculty use of writing assignments in their teaching. To address these gaps, we adopted an ecological systems perspective and conducted a national survey of faculty in STEM departments across 63 research-intensive universities in the United States. Overall, the findings indicated that 70% of faculty assigned writing. However, the assignment of writing differed by faculty demographics, discipline, and beliefs. More specifically, faculty demographics accounted for 5% of the variance in assignment of writing. Faculty discipline accounted for an additional 6% increment in variance, and faculty epistemic beliefs and beliefs about effectiveness of WTL practices and contextual resources and constraints influencing the use of writing in their teaching together accounted for an additional 30% increment in variance. The findings point to faculty beliefs as salient intervention targets and highlight the importance of disciplinary specific approaches to the promotion of the adoption of WTL practices.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2021.12.03.04

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