Emerging themes in creative higher education pedagogy

Derrick Robinson (Department of Educational Leadership, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, USA)
Ben M. Schaap (Department of Educational Leadership, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, USA)
Mejai Avoseh (Department of Adult and Higher Education, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, USA)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 2 July 2018



The purpose of this paper is to explore emerging themes in which creativity, or creative pedagogy (CP), is aligned with the practices of higher education instruction. The componential theory of creativity (Amabile, 2012) was used as the lens for examining CP of the study’s participants.


Using an exploratory case study of institutionally recognized effective teachers at a flagship university in the upper mid-western region of the USA, researchers sought to see which themes emerge and align with the four components of CP. Researchers used semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and artifact data to support thematic development.


Four themes emerge from the study to align with CP: administrative support; praxis and environment; content learning; and student independence. Of the four themes, praxis and environment are found to be most dominant in the study. Within each theme, surrounding environment and creative-relevant components of CP emerge as the most dominant. In all, it can be concluded that effective teachers position themselves toward themes and components that offer the most impact for students.


Applying Amabile’s (2012) components of creativity to analyze the pedagogical practices of institutionally recognized teachers of excellence encourages deeper observation of pedagogical practices on higher education faculty and institutional impact on pedagogy. Recommendations are offered for both institutions of higher education and its faculty.



Derrick Robinson, Ben M. Schaap and Mejai Avoseh (2018) "Emerging themes in creative higher education pedagogy", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 271-282

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: https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-08-2017-0099



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