Dissertation Research

Below is a short description of my dissertation research, which I began in September 2007 and completed in June 2012.

– Iqbal Dissertation Summary 2012 (PDF, 6 page coloured newsletter format)
– Abstract (350 words)
– Download dissertation at: UBC’s Online Repository (cIRcle)

Dissertation Title

Faculty Members’ Professional Growth in Teaching Through the Summative Peer Review of Teaching and Other Departmental Practices


My dissertation research was a qualitative study in which I investigated faculty members’ understandings and experiences of the summative peer review of teaching and examined the relationship between summative peer review and professional growth in teaching. A second objective of this study was to explore departmental practices that support/hinder a culture that values teaching. To read an abstract of the dissertation, click here.


I was drawn to the summative peer review of teaching because little research has examined the relationship between summative review and professional growth in teaching. This study will help identify the ways in which elements of academic culture affect Canadian faculty members’ understandings and experiences of the summative peer review of teaching.


For this study, I conducted 30 semi-structured in person interviews with pre-tenured faculty members and tenured faculty members at a research-intensive Canadian university. Participants were recruited from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts; three departments in each faculty were represented in this study.

I used Atlas.ti to code and categorize the data and engaged in an ongoing process of analysis that began with the first interview and continued as I drafted and revised the dissertation.

Theoretical Framework

In this project, I employed and studied the concept of academic culture. I take culture to be a pattern of shared beliefs, values, and underlying assumptions that are displayed in attitudes, behavioural norms, rituals, and other symbolic activities (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2008; Bunch, 2007; Quinlan & Åkerlind, 2000; Trowler, 2008). I presume culture to be dynamic, diverse, and tied to broader societal, historical, and political contexts.

My work was informed by existing research on institutional, departmental and disciplinary cultures. I was also inspired by (and made extensive use of) O’Meara, Terosky and Neumann’s (2008) framework for professional growth in faculty careers.

Executive summary

I created an 6-page, coloured newsletter as the executive summary of dissertation. See Iqbal Dissertation Summary 2012.

Supervisory Committee 

Dr. Thomas Sork, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty of Education, UBC (co-supervisor)

Dr. Gary Poole, School of Population and Public Health (co-supervisor)

Dr. Amy Metcalfe, Educational Studies (committee member)

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