CTL: Center for Teaching and Learning

Faculty Inquiry

Written by Rachel Jameton


 A Faculty Inquiry Group is a professional learning community assembled to foster teaching excellence and student success. Throughout a semester, faculty meet regularly to develop and investigate a question about their teaching practices, plan classroom activities and discuss results. Faculty enhance group discussions with group work, independent reading and writing, and a report of results and reflection is also expected at the end of the semester.

The question that is investigated through inquiry applies to the faculty member’s own teaching, is related to the inquiry theme and involves the implementation and assessment of a new teaching technique, activity or assignment. 

Goals of Faculty Inquiry:

  • To support student success in the classroom
  • To enhance a teacher's practice through interdisciplinary discussion and research related to a teaching and learning question or challenge
  • To share findings and experiences through on- and off-campus presentations and publications
  • To provide opportunities for scholarship and professional development for P&T and reviews 
  • To connect college faculty across disciplines

A typical schedule for a semester or year

Meeting or other event


Suggested outside work

Prior to first meeting


Thinking about area of inquiry

Think about your question, how it relates to student success, your goals/objectives for inquiry and the type of evidence that would help you answer your question.

First meeting

Discussion of questions

Background reading and collection of resources.

Second meeting

Discussion of background and plan of action

Design of course materials or project.

Third meeting

Discussion of design

Design and/or implementation of course materials or project.

Fourth meeting

 Discussion of outcomes and   evidence

Collection of evidence, analyzing relationships between the evidence and goals/objectives

Fifth meeting

Insights, findings and future directions

Poster or talk preparation

Follow up

Sharing of inquiry work

 Feedback to the TLC about your experience

 Examples of faculty inquiry

Posters at the Annual Research Symposium

2017 posters

Blog posts

 If you are interested in inquiry...

  • Please contact the CTL at any time.
  • Usually 4-6 faculty is about the right size for an inquiry group.
  • Faculty can be multidisciplinary or share a discipline.
  • Faculty generally work on similar questions related to a theme.
  • The CTL can help with scheduling and logistics to the extent that such help is desired.

Further reading