Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Lisa D. Bendixen

Second Committee Member

Alice Corkill

Third Committee Member

Gwen Marchand

Fourth Committee Member

Kim Barchard

Number of Pages



This study focuses on epistemic belief change and the innovation-decision processes of 193 faculty who participated in a professional development workshop series on classroom assessment. From this study population, focus groups were conducted with a criterion-based research sample of 30 workshop participants (i.e., spring workshop completers n = eight, spring workshop non-completers n =eight, fall workshop completers n = seven, and fall workshop non-completers n = seven). Very little attention in higher education research is devoted to how faculty conceptualize new knowledge during professional development, and how decisions about new knowledge affect existing knowledge. This study addresses this gap by examining the mechanisms of epistemic belief change as it pertains to faculty epistemic beliefs about assessment of learning. Components from Diffusion of Innovations (Rogers, 2003) were embedded into the Integrated Model of personal epistemology development (Bendixen & Rule, 2004) and examined in a new conceptual model, the Integrated Model of Innovation Decision-Making (IM-IDM), to explore mechanisms of epistemic belief change. The purpose of this convergent parallel mixed methods study was to examine the cognitive processes of epistemic change (i.e., epistemic doubt, epistemic volition, resolution strategies, affect, reciprocal causation, and metacognition) and determine the influence of two professional development teaching strategies (i.e., innovativeness and collaborative learning) on faculty epistemic beliefs, as well as how epistemic change is associated with the innovation- decision process when faculty consider adopting innovative classroom assessment strategies. Findings indicate statistically significant increases in sophistication of faculty beliefs for all four epistemic domains after completing a professional development series. Additionally, an examination of cognitive processes used in innovation decision-making suggest that attributes of innovativeness have a role in pre-decisions and epistemic beliefs have a role in both pre-decisions and decisions. However, the role of collaborative learning was not evident within in this study. The findings of this study may have pragmatic value to higher education institutions interested in social and personal change strategies. It is recommended that future research of the IM-IDM be conducted with a larger sample size and determine direct, indirect, and mediation effects of innovativeness and collaborative learning on faculty epistemic beliefs.


collaborative learning; epistemic belief change; innovativeness; professional development


Education | Educational Psychology | Epistemology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit