Post-Secondary Instructor’s Teaching Efficiency

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Robert Krider, Beedie School of Business

Project team: Lee Gilad, research assistant

Timeframe: May 2016 to August 2017

Funding: $5,000

Final report: View Robert Krider's final report (PDF)

Description: The Beedie School of Business and SFU provide resources and initiatives designed to improve the effectiveness and quality of teaching. Within the Business School, there is a perception that the participation of tenure-track faculty (TTF) in teaching initiatives and events is very low, and certainly much lower than the participation of non-tenure-track faculty. The obvious hypothesis explaining this difference is that TTFs are attempting to allocate a fixed time budget over many activities to maximize some perceived measure of return. Since TTFs have lower teaching loads and greater research demands than non-TTFs, their optimal time allocation will be quite different from non-TTFs; specifically, they will invest less in offered activities that are positioned as methods that only improve student learning, with no consideration of the time investment required.

A consequent hypothesis is that offering activities that promise to improve teaching efficiency—that is, lowering the ratio of time input to teaching output metrics—would be valued more than activities that only promise to improve learning outcomes. Furthermore, activities valued by reward-maximizing faculty should also be valued by a university that has multiple objectives, including good teaching and good research, and has well-designed reward mechanisms targeting those objectives.

I wish to establish the parameters of faculty members’ resource allocation problem, as well as collect and catalogue techniques that improve teaching efficiency. If a collection of feasible and useful techniques is identified, cooperative faculty recruited, and time permits, I will try out some of the techniques and assess the impacts on faculty and students.

Questions addressed:

  • Do TTFs have less interest than non-TTFs in investing time in workshops and other teaching related initiatives?
  • What do faculty currently do to improve efficiency?
  • How will faculty interest in the techniques vary by TTF / non-TTF

Knowledge sharing: Participating faculty will receive a copy of the report, and encouraged to share it. The report will be posted on the Beedie teaching and learning website and the results may be presented at the annual Beedie teaching and learning luncheon.  

Keywords: teaching efficiency; instructor surveys; instructor efficiency catalogue, Instructor motivations, efficient teaching, tradeoff analysis, conjoint analysis, professional development design