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Empowering Faculty Development Professionals One Tip at a Time

Photo of diverse group of individuals working together with laptops and postit notes on a whiteboard

By Amanda E. Major, EdD, CPLP, PMP                                                                       Photo Credit: Leon on Unsplash

Although faculty receive many opportunities to engage in professional development, those professionals who ensure that faculty have just-in-time development experiences have little opportunity to glean tips for themselves. These are the same professionals who recently expended much of their effort to ensure that faculty have the tools they needed to transition their courses to online or blended modalities in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Likely feeling depleted, these faculty development professionals need a reboot to re-energize their enthusiasm.

Organized accordingly, the Teaching Online Preparation Toolkit (TOPkit) empowers those of us who prepare faculty to teach online and blended courses with timely, trending resources and events.)

Tips for PLANNING Faculty Development

  1. Define your goals for the faculty development program by getting very clear about the answers to these questions.
    1. What’s the purpose of the effort?
    2. What are you charged to do?
    3. How will you know you achieved that charge?

Goals serve as an overarching aim that encompasses SMART objectives. Often people confuse the two.

  1. Create a process for achieving your goals. Project management methodologies of agile and predictive approaches can serve to guide your efforts. Create a flowchart, concept map, or outline of major deliverables or steps to complete. As an example, view a high-level overview of the adaptive learning process compared to a supply chain management process presented by Chuck Dziuban at the TOPkit Workshop, recurring annually in March. (https://vimeo.com/560528234)
  1. Employ tried and true frameworks to guide your faculty development efforts. Consider investing just a few minutes to review faculty development pathways and models to construct your own.

Tips for DEVELOPING Faculty Development

  1. Start from something. If you are creating faculty development offerings, look through open resources to find an already developed offering to adopt and adapt. You should be able to find quality course review processes, mentoring community examples, professional learning community curriculums, or workshops available from which to model your program.
  2. Design your program for your diverse group of faculty learners. Do they have andragogical preferences, privacy concerns, accessibility needs, the perfectly human longing to feel included in a community? Policies and guidelines related to privacy, accessibility, and copyright may inform the content you include and the way you relay that information.
  3. Engage your faculty with activities that support their interactions. Consider asynchronous and synchronous delivery modalities as well as activities that foster independent reflection, real-time collaboration, discussion, or automatic feedback options, supported by appropriate technologies, aligned with learning objectives.

Tips for EVALUATING Faculty Development

  1. Purposefully create check points for faculty development deliverables, whether course development efforts, workshop delivery, or impact of learning technologies. Some questions to ask are:
    1. How satisfied are participants with the learning experience?
    2. To what standard is the content attained or technology used?
    3. How is the content or technology and to what extent?
    4. What is the fidelity of its application?
  2. Treat evaluation like conducting research. You can uncover many sources of data from information already collected, like surveys from workshop participation or course data from LMS logs. Whether using pre-collected data or collecting your own, check with your IRB (Institutional Review Board) office about completing the correct documentation to authorize your study prior to its launch.

Planning, developing, and evaluating your faculty development offerings will not only strengthen your faculty members’ courses but also their students’ learning experiences.  You may be ready to discover additional ways to inspire your practice. You can find a plethora of resources featured on TOPkit.org, subscribe to the TOPkit Digest to receive tips delivered monthly right to your inbox, or contribute your expertise to the TOPkit community by authoring your own featured page.

TOPkit logoFor the community and by the community, TOPkit empowers faculty development professionals with timely, trending resources and professional development events. TOPkit is a state of Florida funded effort that is coordinated by the University of Central Florida. TOPkit is designed and delivered to empower your practice.