Higher Education

, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 765–783 | Cite as

An exploration into inquiry-based learning by a multidisciplinary group of higher education faculty

  • Daniela B. Friedman
  • Tena B. Crews
  • Juan M. Caicedo
  • John C. Besley
  • Justin Weinberg
  • Miriam L. Freeman


This manuscript describes faculty and student experiences and future activities of a multidisciplinary group of university faculty who are implementing inquiry-based learning (IBL) in their classrooms for the first time. This opportunity to implement the IBL instructional method was provided to the faculty through a grant from the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). The goal of this paper is to provide a discussion on the implementation of IBL in the classroom and students’ responses to IBL. The multidisciplinary group was from the following disciplines: philosophy, journalism and mass communications, business and technology education, public health, civil engineering, and social work. This manuscript describes the (1) fundamentals of the CTE inquiry grant, (2) fundamentals of IBL, (3) IBL strategies and implementation, (4) students’ responses to IBL, and (5) the implications of IBL for higher education.


Critical thinking Fundamentals of inquiry Inquiry-based learning Multidisciplinary faculty Problem-based learning 



Funding provided by the University of South Carolina Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). The authors thank Dr. Jed S. Lyons (CTE Faculty Director) and Ms. Ruth Patterson (CTE Program Manager) for supporting this project. Dr. Caicedo acknowledges the National Science Foundation Class Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement grant DUE-0633635 for their partial support. Drs. Besley, Friedman, and Weinberg acknowledge the University of South Carolina Honors College for supporting interdisciplinary course development. Dr. Freeman acknowledges the University of South Carolina Honors College for supporting study abroad course development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela B. Friedman
    • 1
  • Tena B. Crews
    • 2
  • Juan M. Caicedo
    • 3
  • John C. Besley
    • 4
  • Justin Weinberg
    • 5
  • Miriam L. Freeman
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Technology Support and Training ManagementUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.School of Journalism and Mass CommunicationsUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  6. 6.College of Social WorkUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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