As I complete my one-year fellowship with the Office of Academic Affairs, I am proud of the work I have accomplished in collaboration with the CTL implementation team in turning the recommendations of the CTL task force into a workable plan. In this final blog post, I summarize some of the current literature on faculty professional development and make recommendations to the future Faculty Forum.
The current literature on faculty professional development stresses the importance of community and collaboration on increasing scholarly productivity, job satisfaction, and professional fulfillment.
Centers for teaching and learning commonly offer workshops, institutes, and course consultations, however research suggests that extended interactions are more likely to lead to improvement in teaching behaviors (Nasmith & Steinert, 2001). While most professional development is in the form of workshops and seminars, research shows that individuals attribute less than 10% of their personal development to formal learning activities like these (Flynn, Eddy, & Tannenbaum, 2006; Tannenbaum, 1997).
Learning evolves over time. It is unstructured and happens spontaneously. Studies find that a lot of learning that happens, occurs in an informal environment. Gerken, Beausaert, and Segers (2016) find that formal learning activities are not significantly related to factors associated with employability. In contrast, informal, social learning activities were more directly related to factors like knowledge, being proactive in reflecting on current developments in a field, and adapting to changes.
This is where the future Faculty Forum can really have a unique impact at IUPUI. The mission of the Forum will be to support learning, instruction, leadership, and innovation by fostering faculty collaboration across units, cultivating community, and advancing a scholarly approach to teaching and learning.
In order to fulfill this mission, I encourage programming that mirrors the facilitated peer exchange common to communities of practice through book clubs, teaching circles, and faculty learning communities. Research also demonstrates the challenges that faculty at all levels face in managing multiple roles and new responsibilities (Austin & Sorcinelli, 2013). To address this, the Forum can help facilitate ongoing faculty peer mentoring and peer consultation.
There is great potential for the Forum to have a broad-reaching impact on faculty and in serving as a model facility for professional development at the university. I wish the CTL, Office of Academic Affairs, and inaugural cohort of Forum Fellows all the best in taking the next steps.
Austin, A. E. & Sorcinelli, M. D. (2013). The Future of faculty development: Where are we going? New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 133, 85-96.
Flynn, D., Eddy, E. R., and Tannenbaum, S. I. (2006). The Impact of national culture on the continuous learning environment. Journal of East-West Business, 12, 85–107.
Gerken, M., Beausaert, S., and Segers, M. (2016). Working on professional development of faculty staff in higher education: investigating the relationship between social informal learning activities and employability. Human Resource Development International, 19, 135-151.
Nasmith, L. & Steinert, Y. (2001). The evaluation of a workshop to promote interactive lecturing. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 13(1), 43-48.
Tannenbaum, S. I. (1997). Enhancing continuous learning: Diagnostic findings from multiple companies. Human Resource Management, 36, 437-452.