Creating a Collaborative Teaching Culture: The Case Study of the Value of a Professional Learning Community




doctoral education, teaching effectiveness, self-efficacy, professional development


In sport management higher education, doctoral students and early-career faculty are often tasked with teaching university courses, yet the training and support rarely match the demands of the job. This paper explores the utility of a professional learning community (PLC) within a sport management department at an American university using a case study methodology. A PLC creates space for colleague collaboration among faculty with similar objectives and goals. The PLC examined in this manuscript includes a mix of experienced (i.e., associate and full professors) and inexperienced professors (i.e., assistant professors and doctoral students) sharing their classroom/instructional experience at the undergraduate and master’s levels. PLCs represent a viable solution to help ease the classroom transition for early-career instructors and provide a platform for faculty to seek advice related to challenges. Findings suggest that the proper implementation of PLCs can lead to perceived increases in teaching effectiveness, self-efficacy, and collaboration amongst experienced and inexperienced faculty. Other benefits of PLCs include allowing faculty members to remain attuned to current classroom trends and maintaining a common philosophical mission/vision for the degree program.

Author Biographies

Beth A. Cianfrone, Georgia State University

Beth A. Cianfrone, PhD, is a professor and program coordinator of the sport administration MS program in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University. Her research interests include sport marketing communication and consumer behavior.

Lauren Beasley, Georgia State University

Lauren Beasley, PhD, is an assistant professor of sport administration in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University. Her research lies at the intersection of social work in sport, with a recent focus on the social work profession in sport, mental health programming in sport organizations, and the physical and mental health literacy of collegiate athletes.

Jackson Sears, Georgia State University

Jackson Sears, MS, is a doctoral candidate with a concentration in sport administration in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University. His research interests include sport consumer behavior with a specific emphasis on sport gambling and fantasy sport.

Natalie Bunch, Georgia State University

Natalie Bunch, MS, is a doctoral candidate with a concentration in sport administration in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University. Her research interests include sport organizations’ communications, with specific emphasis on their use of social media in conjunction with larger social movements.

Konadu Gyamfi, Georgetown University

Konadu Gyamfi, PhD, is the assistant director of Student Outreach & Support at Georgetown University. Her research interests center on examining scholar-activism and issues of social justice through sport, and exploring higher education/student affairs and collegiate athletics in a global context.

Timothy Kellison, Florida State University

Timothy Kellison, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Sport Management at Florida State University. His research primarily focuses on sport in urban environments, with special emphasis in environmental sustainability, public policy, and urban and regional planning.


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