Snapshots of Practice

Descriptive Inquiry at Bank Street

Graduate School faculty collaborateOver the 2016-17 academic year, Bank Street Graduate School faculty and staff participated in a school-wide Descriptive Inquiry process to examine their programs and pedagogy. As part of the process, faculty met regularly to share their practices and to strengthen their well-established programs in teacher and leader preparation, museum education, and child life. Dean Cecelia Traugh initiated this process, drawing on her extensive experience implementing Descriptive Inquiry in higher education settings, in order to help faculty reflect on their practice, improve program quality, and build organizational coherence. This Snapshot of Practice captures lessons learned during the Descriptive Inquiry process.


Charles, J. (2018). Descriptive inquiry at Bank Street: Building intellectual community while responding to accreditation. New York, N.Y.: Bank Street College of Education.

Using Descriptive Inquiry
Introduces the school-wide Descriptive Inquiry process led by Dean Cecelia Traugh
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Benefits for Faculty and the Organization
Explains the benefits observed by participating in the inquiry group including increased collegial interaction and camaraderie, cross-programmatic sharing, access to peer feedback, opportunities for self-reflection, and increased appreciation for the use of evidence
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Learning, Structural, and Cultural Challenges
Presents the challenges encountered by the participants while implementing the Descriptive Inquiry process
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Processes for Overcoming Challenges and Growing Community
Details how Dean Cecelia Traugh and the Bank Street faculty and staff worked together to build an intellectual community
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