Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Nancy Singer


Dr. Shea Kerkhoff

Dr. Libby Scheiern

Dr. Suellynn Duffey


The purpose of this multi-method study was to explore how faculty members, who teach at higher education institutions that deliver a liberal arts experience, view teaching and how those views inform their teaching practice. Teaching beliefs can feel like a messy construct (Pajares, 1992) but are important in determining what informs teaching practice. Pratt (1994) also explains beliefs inform conceptions of teaching practice. The conceptualizations of faculty, more specifically their teaching beliefs, were the focus of this study. Thus, this study investigated the following research questions: Given the context of a liberal arts institution, what are faculty members’ conceptualizations of teaching? How does the faculty’s conceptualization inform their teaching practices? Participants completed an Approach to Teaching Inventory (ATI), answered oral interview questions, shared their course syllabi for analysis, and sent their students an anonymous student questionnaire. Data was analyzed to find patterns and themes to address the research questions using thematic analysis. Findings from this study have implications for higher education institutions and faculty to foster, support, and develop teaching beliefs and practices throughout the faculty member’s teaching career.