Excellence in Teaching and Learning: The Faculty Perspective

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 2:05 PM

Sarah J. M. Shaefer, PhD, RN1
Mary F. Terhaar, RN1
Anne E. Belcher, PhD, RN, FAAN1
Maya Shaha, PhD, MSc, RN2
Janet M. Berg, MSc, RN1
Jennifer A. Wenzel, PhD, RN, CCM1
1Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
2Nursing, University of Applied Sciences Health, Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the meaning and characteristics of faculty identified approaches for achieving excellence in teaching.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify facilitators and barriers to excellence in teaching.


Excellence constitutes a vision shared by many schools engaged in preparing students for professional practice.  When teaching excellence directly impacts students’ content and skills mastery, personal and societal benefits can be achieved, particularly in healthcare quality.      However, excellence in teaching and learning needs to be explored in detail to provide a foundation upon which to develop and implement assessment tools, interventions and evaluation of faculty and student outcomes. Our study focused on faculty perspective regarding excellence in teaching and learning (ETAL) and provides a substantive description derived from faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) to address this need.
The following research questions are the basis of this qualitative study employing a community-based participatory research approach:  1)  What does excellence in teaching and learning mean to faculty at the JHUSON?  2)  What are facilitators/barriers that promote/inhibit excellence in teaching and learning within the JHUSON?
Ten faculty teaching award recipients were interviewed.  Interviews were from 30-65 minutes and conducted by an experienced interviewer from outside the JHUSON to avoid hierarchical/power issues.  Thematic analysis was conducted by a team of investigators and used to develop themes and sub-themes across interview data
Ten faculty had a mean of 18 years teaching and 31 years in nursing practice.   All nursing programs (BSN, MSN, PhD in Nursing and DNP) are represented.
Preliminary analysis identified two general categories of themes: teacher qualities and teaching methodologies. 
Important personal qualities for excellent teachers are a passion for teaching with a personalized teaching style and the belief that their role is mentoring students while simultaneously maintaining high expectations.   Teaching methodologies include student-centered learning approaches with diverse classroom activities, simulation, emphasis on essential class information, integration and application of content for multiple courses.  Facilitators and barriers to achieving these goals are also identified.