S3-CT4-3 - Analysis of Four Years of Experience in a STEM Lecturer-training Program Based on Competencies

2. Research-to-Practice Work In Progress
David Lopez1 , Antoni Perez-Poch1, Ariadna Llorens Garcia1, Marc Alier1
1 Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech

This work in progress research-to-practice paper presents the analysis of the experience in the first four years of the lecturer training program developed at our university.

Good teaching depends to some extent on the competence of teachers. Despite this, pedagogical training of university lecturers is usually the result of a voluntary self-training process based on lecturers’ experience and beliefs, rather than a mandatory program based on scientific evidence.

Our university is a technical one, only offering STEM degrees. In this environment, the lecturers have the technical abilities required for teaching, but not necessarily the professional abilities required for good teaching.

Some research was conducted between 2011 and 2013 to analyze the competencies required for STEM lecturers, resulting in six competencies: interpersonal; methodological; communicative; planning and management; teamwork; and innovation. Based on this research, a 15 ECTS (375 hours) postgraduate program was designed to help our lecturers to acquire these competencies. It started in September 2015.

The program has a minimum length of one year and a half. One of its strengths is that the people who follow the program must carry out a project, which consists of analyzing a situation that occurs in their classes and of which they are dissatisfied, propose and implement an educational innovation to tackle the problem and analyze the results of the proposed innovation.

After four years of experience with the program, it is necessary to perform a critical analysis of the results, to find out what worked and what needs to be changed.

This paper presents this analysis and the lessons learned in the process. It has a quantitative analysis (number of lecturers who enroll in the program, results of the surveys they fill in after each subject, etcetera) and a qualitative analysis based on the projects carried out and a focus group with teachers who are following or have finished the program.

The results show that the program is highly valuated by the lecturers who followed it and the great impact it has had in their teaching activity. Nevertheless, the main drawback is that very few lecturers enroll in the program (it is not mandatory), so some changes are needed to make it more attractive to the lecturers.

Despite most universities having some kind of lecturer training programs, there are very few programs that are: a) oriented to lecturers’ competencies, b) with such an amount of time dedicated to it, and c) with a mandatory project that must be implemented in class. One of the goals of the paper is to share the problems we faced designing and implementing the program and the lessons learned after four years of experience to help other universities which want to develop similar programs.