Harry Hubball


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Threshold Concepts in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A phenomenological study of educational leaders in a Canadian research-intensive university context (2015)

This research study explored the lived experience of educational leaders in a research-intensive context as they engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Leadership Program (UBC SoTL Leadership Program). The study was guided by two research questions: (1) What is the nature and substance of threshold concepts in SoTL and (2) What enhances or constrains educational leaders’ ability to navigate threshold concepts in SoTL? A qualitative phenomenological inquiry approach was employed over a nine-month period to explore educational leaders’ experience with SoTL. Data collection and analysis were informed by van Manen’s interpretive phenomenology and data sources included a questionnaire, participant observation in classroom sessions, interviews with members of the 2013-2014 cohort and past graduates of the program, and participants’ ePortfolios.The research questions sought to explore threshold concepts in SoTL as well as factors that enhance or constrain the ability of institution-level and Faculty-level educational leaders to navigate threshold concepts in the scholarship of teaching and learning in a research-intensive university. Seven themes emerged from the analysis as potential SoTL threshold concepts for the participants: conceptions of research, subjectivity, institutional culture, studentness, boundary crossing, teaching as scholarship, and the disposition of a SoTL scholar. The concepts were examined in light of four defining characteristics of threshold concepts. The first five of the themes exhibited significant evidence of the characteristics and were categorized as threshold concepts. The final two themes exhibited some of the characteristics and warrant further inquiry. Further data analysis indicated that educational leaders’ ability to navigate threshold concepts was enhanced and constrained by their understanding of the nature of SoTL and disciplinary and institutional cultures in which they undertake their daily work.These results offer important insights for understanding how threshold concepts are manifest in a SoTL based faculty development program for institution-level and Faculty-level UBC SoTL Leadership Program educational leaders and insights into how these concepts might have been navigated in such contexts.

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Conceptions of Curricular Integration in an Undergraduate Degree Program: A Case Study in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2014)

This study examined conceptions of curricular integration held by actors in an undergraduate pharmacy program, and the relationship of those conceptions to observed integration in a curriculum espoused in program documents, enacted by instructors, and experienced by students. Points of convergence and divergence between the espoused, enacted, and experienced dimensions of the curriculum were also examined. The conceptual framework used was Hubball and Burt’s curriculum design model, with data collection and analysis further informed by Chinowsky’s practice implementation matrix. Qualitative case study methodology was employed, using the baccalaureate program of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia as an instrumental case. Data sources included documents, such as curriculum planning records and course syllabi; classroom observations; interviews with curriculum planning leaders, course coordinators, and external stakeholders with supervisory roles as preceptors and employers; and focus group interviews with students. Findings suggested that individuals’ conceptions of curriculum integration related to their experiences and were uninformed by scholarship or theoretical models. Curriculum planning leaders’ and course coordinators’ understandings emphasized horizontal integration across disciplines, reflecting their experiences as disciplinary experts and teachers in a discipline-based curriculum with some multidisciplinary components. External stakeholders had little understanding of curricular integration, reflecting their minimal connection to the curriculum. Students co-constructed broader notions of curricular integration that included horizontal and vertical dimensions, reflecting their holistic experiences of the curriculum. Structural, content, and pedagogical strategies supported integration within the curriculum. Comparison of the espoused and enacted curriculum showed that intended structural and content aspects were implemented, while the pedagogical promise of the espoused curriculum was not fully realized in the enacted curriculum, with integrative pedagogies often missing. Although most curriculum planning leaders and course coordinators appeared satisfied with their efforts, students described missed opportunities for integration and expressed strong interest in integrative learning through arrangement of content by disease states rather than disciplines and by case-based teaching and assessment. Implications for curricular redesign in higher education include the need for effective curriculum leadership and scholarship, and attention to perspectives of key stakeholders, especially students, to ensure congruence between the espoused, enacted, and experienced curriculum.

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Role and status of the basic pharmaceutical sciences in pharmacy education : a case study of the UBC BSc(Pharm) program (2014)

The basic pharmaceutical sciences have played an integral role in the scientific foundations of pharmacy education in Canada for 70 years although their role has shifted as programs have become more clinically-focused. Less reliance on the basic pharmaceutical sciences has prompted concerns regarding the scientific foundations of contemporary curricula and to what extent they are adequate for preparing today’s pharmacists. Addressing these concerns, this study inquired into the role and status of the basic pharmaceutical sciences in UBC’s current BSc(Pharm) program. Employing qualitative case study methodology and learning-centered approaches to post-secondary education, a combination of document, interview, and classroom observation analyses were used to establish: 1) the history of the basic pharmaceutical sciences in UBC pharmacy programs; 2) faculty perspectives on their role and status in the current program, and; 3) the curriculum and pedagogical practices of basic pharmaceutical scientists. Results from document analyses examining the history of pharmacy education in British Columbia since Confederation show that the basic pharmaceutical sciences have played a dominant role in UBC pharmacy programs for four decades; emphasis has decreased from 40% in the heavily science-based curricula of the 1980s to 25% of today’s clinically-focused program. Regarding the role and status of the basic pharmaceutical sciences in the current program, interview analyses suggest perspectives of scientists and practitioners are deeply polarized. While there is agreement that the basic pharmaceutical sciences have a role in preparing students for practice, science and practice solitudes confound curriculum decisions regarding optimal levels, importance, and status. Interview and classroom observation analyses suggest the curriculum and pedagogical practices of basic pharmaceutical scientists are predominantly teaching-centered. Although committed educators, discipline-based practices and a legacy of privilege may be exacerbating the science and practice solitudes, the lack of agreement amongst scientists and practitioners about role and status, and existing tensions regarding curriculum optimization. To address confounding factors, scholarly approaches and interdisciplinary curriculum development teams are suggested for on-going curriculum reforms. In addition, faculty development programs connecting basic pharmaceutical scientists with practice and developing learning-centered teaching approaches are proposed. The role of Faculty leadership and policies in curriculum reform efforts is also described.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

An examination of teaching professionalism in an undergraduate program at the University of British Columbia - Okanagan (2013)

Accounting education within undergraduate programs is facing a developing crisis in teaching students what it means to be a professional. Following significant and highly visible accounting scandals such as Enron and Worldcom, the accounting profession must regain public trust. Multiple calls for education reform in accounting have called for programs to incorporate professionalism into the curriculum. This thesis examines the extent that professionalism is included in the curriculum of two undergraduate accounting programs at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Using data from faculty interviews, archival data, student and alumni focus groups, and interviews with recruiters from the professional accounting firms, this thesis provides a comprehensive overview of how professionalism is conceptualized and how it is taught at UBC, from both the curricular and pedagogical perspectives. This thesis also identifies elements of teaching professionalism that are effective. Triangulation of data from multiple sources (faculty, students, alumni, and recruiters) provides strong evidence on how to effectively teach professionalism in accounting education. The participants' conceptions of professionalism might be characterized as three layers including simple behavioural issues, very deep and complex ethical issues, and softer skills including cognitive skills, communication skills, and personal and interpersonal skills. This evidence will be useful to other undergraduate accounting programs concerned with developing future professionals.

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An investigation of student learning using threshold concepts in a first year cell biology course (2012)

There is a lack of understanding of how conceptually difficult content is processed by students in first year biology courses. Much of the research reports that threshold concepts can be applied in multi-disciplinary frameworks from the sciences to humanities (Lucas and Mladenovic, 2007). By drawing on Land and Meyer’s (2003) operational definition for threshold concepts, the purpose of this study is to investigate threshold concepts and their potential for high levels of student engagement in a first year cell biology course at the University of British Columbia. To investigate to what extent threshold concepts exist, student feedback with educators perspectives were examined for areas that represented threshold concepts and used to create a framework. Focus group interviews explored the student learning experience and evaluated if the course activities supported threshold concepts and provided a transformative learning experience. The transformative nature of concepts was related to levels of course engagement by administering a validated course engagement questionnaire to focus groups. The study showed there is some evidence of threshold concepts in cell biology, particularly in the areas of genetics and energy generation and focus group interviews corroborated these results. As three threshold concepts were chosen to examine in depth, discussions among focus group participants showed that students struggled with overcoming difficulties in understanding discursive language, linking concepts across the disciplines and distinguishing important concepts that are central to understanding biological processes. Two learning strategies that were found to be particularly useful in enhancing transformative learning were the use of in-class clicker questions and group investigation activities. However, students were assessed to be only moderately engaged in the content, relied on surface learning techniques for mastery and lacked the deeper learning processes that were necessary for a transformative learning experience. This study has implications for the role of instructional development to identify threshold concepts, help students in learning challenging material and achieve deep learning processes. Based on these results, threshold concepts can provide the foundation for examining conceptually difficult content within a first year cell biology course and a specific focus on threshold concepts can assist students in crossing conceptual boundaries.

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Assessment and evaluation practices in a pediatric dentistry clinical education setting (2012)

In clinical teaching and learning settings, there is a need for assessment and evaluation practices to be focused on students' overall performance during patient care, not just technical skills in Dentistry. Competency-based education is intended to provide the framework for dental education at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in terms of curriculum content and assessment of student learning outcomes. Clinical instruction in disciplines such as Pediatric Dentistry depends on clinical practitioner-instructors who have potential to make important contributions to student development. Although they bring strengths as disciplinary experts immersed in the realities of dental practice, most are not well versed in research-based instructional strategies to engage students in critical thinking and self-directed learning for the rigours of independent practice. In a qualitative study, data were collected by the author (resident Program Coordinator of the UBC Children's Dental Program) through interviews, observation in teaching clinics, and review of documentation to inform the scope and nature of assessment and evaluation practices in the clinical educational settings of Pediatric Dentistry at UBC. Interview data also provided reflections about how clinical practitioner-instructors understand their practice. Data collected were analyzed using principles of grounded theory and merged into themes drawn from the conceptual framework of Hubball and Burt (2004) as well as the use of the UBC Faculty of Dentistry patient care performance criteria and standards for student learning. Assessment and evaluation practices in clinical settings typically ranged from predominantly directive methods (e.g. traditional teacher-driven and skills-based) that clinical practitioner-instructors experienced themselves as students, to occasional learning-centred methods (e.g. instructor questioning, self-analysis, and reflection) supported by current literature. While clinical practitioner-instructors recognized the importance of student confidence and safety of patient care, most were unfamiliar with authentic methods of assessment and evaluation for competency-based dental education. Further, there was little reflection or collaboration within the community of practitioners about the effectiveness of assessment methods.These results and a research-informed approach will guide planning of faculty development initiatives (e.g., learning communities focused on learning-centred assessment and evaluation strategies) for clinical practitioner-instructors.

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