Faculty survey on formative failure

During our discussions at the summer 2017 Alumni Workshops, the hypothesis emerged that student gains come from “formative failure” – the problems that emerge during any research endeavor that require re-analysis and renewed effort to resolve. (Such challenges can occur during gene annotation, even if the student is annotating a known gene, and is not participating in the GEP research per se.) It was suggested that prior experience prepares the faculty for such failures, but that this can be an eye-opening experience for students. The purpose of this survey is to collect our individual experiences that are pertinent to this question. Our responses will be analyzed by visual inspection and by the NVivo software to look for common features and patterns. We might decide to include a collection of the comments in the paper to illustrate types of responses, and/or we could decide to publish the complete table of comments. The first few questions will allow us to stratify the responses in ways that might be pertinent. Comments will NOT be identified by faculty member or school beyond this stratification in the paper. Because you will all be co-authors of the paper, we consider you to be reporters, and not subjects, for this research. Hence no IRB has been obtained. We do expect that all co-authors will respond to the survey, contributing their experiences. Responses will be collected in the same way that the Annual Faculty Reports are collected, through the GEP website. If you have any questions or concerns about these arrangements, please contact Sally Elgin (selgin@wustl.edu) or David Lopatto (lopatto@grinnell.edu).
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