Dimensions of Innovative Teaching: A Survey of Public Administration Faculty
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Purpose: The purpose of this research is to describe the dimensions of innovative teaching in Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs. To separate itself from the learning styles of undergraduate education, graduate programs must take students into the next level of the cognitive domain because students entering public service careers need information and skills. This higher level of learning can be achieved by using appropriate innovative techniques. This research uses the literature to develop a conceptual framework that organizes dimensions of innovative teaching into the following categories: class activities, course projects, instructor characteristics, and environment.
Method: This research uses a survey, developed from the conceptual framework, to describe the extent to which MPA faculty use and value techniques identified by the literature. The survey was distributed to leadership from the top 170 MPA programs in the United States. These points of contact were used to distribute the survey to faculty members. Total of 217 faculty responded.
Findings: In general, faculty frequently used the innovative techniques that they considered important. Highly endorsed techniques included skill building, collaborative learning, and instructor characteristics such as encouragement and facilitation. Techniques with low endorsement included role play and Blended Learning Distance Education (BLDE). Respondents alluded to the possibility that not all techniques are applicable to all subjects. Additionally, respondents questioned the state of “innovation.”