Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chairperson

Giovanni Casotti, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sharon Bartholomew-Began, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gregory Turner, Ph.D.


Wider use of the case study method in the science classroom has been advocated for more than two decades. However, many college life science faculty lack training in this teaching technique, so they continue to rely on slide-based lectures. To make effective use of case studies, these faculty must acquire new teaching skills.

A modified Delphi technique consisting of three rounds of online questionnaires was used to assess the learning needs of college life science faculty. A panel of 18 expert consultants was formed and a series of three questionnaires was prepared. Following the third round, these questions were asked of the data: 1) What was the panel’s consensus of opinion regarding the most-needed educational resources? 2) Was there a statistically significant difference in the overall ratings of various resources as perceived by junior faculty, mid-level faculty, senior faculty, and support staff? 3) Did the overall consensus of ratings change between Round 2 and Round 3, or stay the same?

The panel reached consensus that the most-needed educational resource was a mentor relationship with a senior faculty member who often uses cases. The panel’s level of consensus, as measured by the standard deviation about the mean, was also greatest regarding this resource. There was a significant difference in ratings as perceived by senior faculty. With only two exceptions among the 19 resources considered, the overall consensus of ratings remained stable between rounds 2 and 3.