Inquiry-based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators

ISBN: 978-1-78441-235-7, eISBN: 978-1-78441-234-0

ISSN: 2055-3641

Publication date: 29 November 2014


(2014), "Foreword", Inquiry-based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. xiii-xvi.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

I am pleased to welcome readers to the first volume of Inquiry-Based Learning. This book is timely because, both at home and internationally, inquiry-based learning (IBL) is capturing the attention of educators and researchers in secondary and higher education. Although rich with potential for enhancing the way we teach and our students learn, IBL has presented challenges to some who have attempted it. Gonzalez (2013), chronicling his experiments with IBL, describes, “a difficult journey with the result that … he learned how to design courses that invite undergraduates to become more critical, more complex, and more autonomous thinkers” (p. 33). This first volume comes at the right moment, providing the research, guidance, and resources to make this journey not only less difficult, but also more productive for both new and experienced instructors and educational developers. The rewards that Gonzalez (2013) reports will await at the end of the journey are now multiplied and made accessible by the insights and direction provided by this excellent series.

This foreword offers readers a key recommendation for successful implementation of IBL in courses and programs, citing implementation science to confirm why this approach works. I have confidence in this implementation process because of my 35 years of experience as facilitator and researcher of structured, inquiry-based, academic communities of practice (CoPs). The outcomes of this process have provided colleagues, students, and institutions with effective practices and programs for teaching, learning, research, and organizational development (Cox & Richlin, 2004).

My recommendation is that the readers of these chapters employ structured, academic CoPs when implementing the opportunities surrounding IBL described here. In the United States, we call these faculty learning communities (FLCs). Membership is voluntary, multidisciplinary, of size 8–10 members, and open to those in all professions in higher education. FLCs are inquiry based, yearlong, and have the goals of building community, developing evidence-based solutions, and disseminating project outcomes, often as the scholarship of teaching and learning (Cox, 2004). FLC outcomes include increased student learning in areas high on Bloom’s taxonomy and can include design and assessment of new curricula or revised programs developed by the FLC as a group in concert (Beach & Cox, 2009).

For over 35 years in the United States, FLCs have engaged hundreds of topics, including some described in this book, namely, study abroad, equality in higher education, Web 2.0 tools, service learning, and non-science majors and scientific inquiry. Cohort-based FLCs, for example, early-career academics, build institutional capacity by developing leaders and scholars (Cox, 2006, 2013). Over the long term, FLCs enable an institution to become a learning organization (Cox, 2001, 2006; Senge, 1990). For example, the top-25 largest-enrolled courses at my university were transformed from lecture-based to inquiry-guided learning. This involved hundreds of course sections, instructors, and thousands of students (Taylor, Bakker, Nadler, Shore, & Dietz-Uhler, 2012). Importantly, instructors and educational developers accomplished this transformation by working in FLCs/CoPs (Stonewater, Taylor, Bakker, Nadler, & Shore, in press).

Implementation science confirms why educational developers are successful in using FLCs to implement challenging, evidenced-based opportunities such as IBL. Implementation is the art and science of incorporating innovations, interventions, and evidence-based programs into typical human service settings to benefit the clients of practitioners, for example, “bench to bedside” in the medical professions. The goal of implementation is “X is what we do” and the establishment of X as the norm in a system and a culture, day in and day out, even when no one is watching. The purveyor of the implementation is the organization, staff, and process that are engaged to achieve the implementation. Educational developers attempt to find a purveyor to ensure that their practitioners – instructors, staff, and administrators – employ IBL with fidelity and sustainability for their clients – students, programs, and institutions.

Lacking good information about implementation best practices, policy makers have invested heavily in the science of interventions, not in the science of implementation. The national implementation research network reports that the U.S. federal government invests 99% in intervention research and 1% in implementation of that research, leaving implementation to chance (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005). Purveyor approaches to implementation that have not worked include invitations (Please do X), demands (You must do X), incentives rather than penalties, additional evidence that the evidenced-based program works, and mass media approaches. What does work for successful purveyors is diffusion by people talking to people who mentor and show why and how. People follow the lead of others they know and trust (Gawande, 2013).

The authors of Inquiry-Based Learning have provided research results, resources, and guidance showing that IBL is a doable, evidence-based program that enhances organizational development and student learning. The FLC model as purveyor is successful because it employs the effective approaches of implementation: FLC members talk to and mentor each other as practitioners, instructors, and scholars. They collaborate with their FLC colleagues – members they know and trust – to design, implement, assess, and disseminate IBL applications.

In conclusion, I recommend that readers employ the wisdom of this first volume and the proven success of the FLC model to implement IBL in courses, programs, and institutions. I extend best wishes for your IBL endeavors.

Milton D. Cox


Beach & Cox (2009) Beach, A. L. , & Cox, M. D. (2009). The impact of faculty learning communities on teaching and learning. Learning Communities Journal, 1(1), 727.

Cox (2001) Cox, M. D. (2001). Faculty learning communities: Change agents for transforming institutions into learning organizations. To Improve the Academy, 19, 6993.

Cox (2004) Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. In M. D. Cox & L. Richlin (Eds.), Building faculty learning communities (pp. 523). New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 97. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cox (2006) Cox, M. D. (2006). Phases in the development of a change model: Communities of practice as change agents in higher education. In A. Bromage , L. Hunt , & C. B. Tomkinson (Eds.), The realities of educational change: Interventions to promote learning and teaching in higher education (pp. 91100). Oxford: Routledge.

Cox (2013) Cox, M. D. (2013). The impact of communities of practice in support of early-career academics. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(1), 1839.

Cox & Richlin (2004) Cox, M. D. , & Richlin, L. (2004). Building faculty learning communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 97. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace (2005) Fixsen, D. L. , Naoom, S. F. , Blase, K. A. , Friedman, R. M. , & Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation research: A synthesis of the literature. Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, National Implementation Research Network (FMHI Publication #231).

Gawande (2013) Gawande, A. (2013). Slow ideas: Some innovations spread fast. How do we speed the ones that don’t? Annals of medicine. The New Yorker, July 29.

Gonzalez (2013) Gonzalez, J. J. (2013). My journey with inquiry-based learning. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 24(2), 3350.

Senge (1990) Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Stonewater, Taylor, Bakker, Nadler, & Shore (in press) Stonewater, J. K. , Taylor, B. , Bakker, A. , Nadler, M. , & Shore, C. (in press). Engaging communities of practice to increase student engagement in large-enrollment courses. Learning Communities Journal, 6.

Taylor, Bakker, Nadler, Shore, & Dietz-Uhler (2012) Taylor, B. K. , Bakker, A. , Nadler, M. K. , Shore, C. , & Dietz-Uhler, B. (2012). Integrating inquiry-guided learning across the curriculum: The top project at Miami University. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 129, 6170.

Inquiry-Based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Inquiry-Based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators
Copyright Page
List of Contributors
Innovative Approaches in Teaching and Learning: An Introduction to Inquiry-Based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development
A Theoretical Model of Collaborative Inquiry-Based Group Development Process
Strategies for Transforming and Extending Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning: Placers – A New Model for Transformative Engagement and Educator Collaboration
The International Baccalaureate: Contributing to the Use of Inquiry in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Reframing Relationships Between Teachers, Students and Curriculum – The Phenomenon of ‘Hybridisation’ in IBL
Ways of Inquiry: The Distinctiveness of the Oxford College General Education Program
Targeting Students’ Epistemologies: Instructional and Assessment Challenges to Inquiry-Based Science Education
Strategies for Embedding Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning in Botanic Gardens: Evidence from the Inquire Project
Representation Construction: A Directed Inquiry Pedagogy for Science Education
The Graduating Project: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry-Based Capstone in Arts
Creating an ‘Emporium of Wonder’ at Manchester Museum
Engaging Students in Scientific Inquiry: Successes and Challenges of Engaging Non-science Majors in Scientific Inquiry
Mighty Negatrons and Collective Knitting: Academic Educators’ Experiences of Collaborative Inquiry-Based Learning
How to Scale Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning through Progressive Faculty Development
Inquiry-Based Service Learning in a University-Based Educational Leadership Program: Service Leadership and Internship in a Principal Fellows Program
Confident Voices: How Professional Development for Teachers by Teachers Using Video Promotes Inquiry-Based Practice
Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP): Online Professional Development through Structured Inquiry and a Virtual Community
Lessons from the Field: Using Inquiry-Based Learning for Study Abroad Programming
Understanding the Use of Technology for Facilitating Inquiry-Based Learning
Supporting Equality of Education through Inquiry-Based Learning
About the Authors
Author Index
Subject Index