Higher Education

, 58:841 | Cite as

Inquiry-based learning in higher education: administrators’ perspectives on integrating inquiry pedagogy into the curriculum

  • Christopher Justice
  • James Rice
  • Dale Roy
  • Bob Hudspith
  • Herb Jenkins


Inquiry-based learning is one approach to improving the quality of undergraduate education by moving toward more student-directed, interactive methods of learning while focusing on learning how to learn. This paper deals with a missing component in the inquiry-related literature—the extra-pedagogical challenges of introducing and maintaining inquiry-based learning in the curriculum. Based in the collective experience of McMaster University, a mid-size Canadian university that has been a pioneer in inquiry pedagogy, the paper describes the challenges administrators faced in supporting the introduction of inquiry-based learning as components of traditional courses, as inquiry-based courses, and as inquiry-based degree programs. Derived from interviews, the paper presents a series of strategies and lessons for introducing and maintaining inquiry pedagogy in the curriculum. These lessons will be broadly useful to administrators, curriculum designers and faculty developers and should be widely applicable to institutes of higher education.


Administration Curriculum Educational development Inquiry-based learning Higher education 



We gratefully acknowledge the input of Brian Baetz, Susan Elliot, Del Harnish, Alan Harrison, Erika Kustra, Virginia Lee, Evan Simpson, Peter Sutherland, Gary Warner, and Maryellen Weimer.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Justice
    • 1
    • 2
  • James Rice
    • 1
  • Dale Roy
    • 1
  • Bob Hudspith
    • 1
  • Herb Jenkins
    • 1
  1. 1.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.DuncanCanada

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