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Category: Faculty Development

Academic Leader has published voluminously on faculty development issues in higher education. Below is a collection of articles, divided by topic, on how you can support the professional development of new and veteran faculty, including those both on and off the tenure track.

Faculty Recruitment and Retention

“It’s Not Just a Series of Workshops: Reevaluating Faculty Development to Improve Recruitment, Retention, and Tenurability of Faculty”
Katherine Robertson

“The success of an academic institution depends on high-quality faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service, and the new generation of over-tasked millennial faculty expects more support than before. This article encourages academic institutions to reevaluate their faculty development offerings for improved recruitment, retention, and tenurability of high-quality faculty.”

“The Impact of Leadership Turnover on Junior Faculty”
Anthony Schumacher

“The departure of provosts, deans, and department chairs affects the commitment level and satisfaction of junior faculty,” writes Anthony Schumacher. The result is leadership turnover fatigue, whereby turnover atop the institutional ladder can lead to turnover further down. Here are steps colleges and universities can take to mitigate this problem.

Professional Development

"Contemplative Pedagogy: Preparing Faculty for Deep Teaching during Crisis"
Michael G. Strawser

The rapid switch to remote emergency teaching at the start of the pandemic required quick-thinking pedagogy. This article outlines how “we can replace our quick-thinking pedagogy with deep-thinking pedagogy”—with lasting effects for both teaching and learning.

"The Role of Academic Leaders as Instructional Supervisors"
Alan Sebel

“While we can hope that all faculty we work with have the intrinsic motivation to never stop improving, sometimes they have to be guided, mentored, or supervised if we expect real results.” This article presents five steps that program and department leaders can take to promote instructional growth.

Leading Your Academic Department Toward Inclusion: How to Ensure Faculty are LGBTQ+ Competent
Dorian Rhea Debussy

If you are a department or program head, the four guidelines here can help you instill LGBTQ+ competence among your faculty.

“Teaching and Learning Centers as Catalysts for Faculty Diversity Development”
Edna B. Chun and Alvin Evans

As this article explores, teaching and learning centers “represent a vital pathway to operationalizing the institutional mission for diversity and inclusion.”

Adaptive Learning for Faculty Development: Technology Considerations
Corrinne Stull, Jackie Compton, and Anchalee Ngampornchai

“One challenge of faculty development and training for online teaching is satisfying instructors with different levels of knowledge, skills, and experience. . . . [T]his challenge can be overcome by employing an adaptive learning strategy.” This article describes the advantages of using adaptive learning technologies in faculty development courses and includes a downloadable rubric for evaluating different systems.

Planning Community-Based Faculty Training and Professional Development at Your Institution
Joseph Fees, Alexa Silver, and Tina Petrovic

This article makes the case for internal faculty training and lays out a blueprint for designing and implementing such training.

"From Rusty to Robust: Overcoming the Challenges to Effective Faculty Development"
James Kowalski

This article outlines three major challenges to implementing a faculty development program: the challenges of scope, culture, and input and output (e.g., lots of work for low-turnout events). It then offers six recommendations for handling those challenges.

"Promoting Faculty Development on a Tight Budget"
Jodie N. Mader

If you’re at a small or medium-sized college or university, chances are your campus lacks a teaching and learning center or other faculty enrichment space. It probably also doesn’t have the funds for one. This article explores a few ways to foster faculty improvement with a shoestring budget.

Faculty Mentoring

Creating an Effective Mentoring Program” (Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7)
Kenneth L. Alford and Tyler J. Griffin

This seven-article series offers a comprehensive guide on how to create an effective mentoring program. Topics addressed include getting started, design considerations, mentor and mentee dos and don’ts, mentoring program guidelines and tips, and developing a culture of mentoring excellence.

Target Mentoring: A Tailored Mentoring Program for Faculty
Susan K. Gardner

In this article, the director of the Rising Tide Center at the University of Maine details the center’s target mentoring program, which matches mentors and mentees according to the former’s goals and interests and the latter’s areas of expertise.

Establishing and Supporting a Faculty Mentoring Program
Mary C. Clement

This article covers questions to ask to develop a guiding philosophy for a mentoring program; mentor selection, orientation, and training; mentor roles and responsibilities; and mentorship program assessment.

The Value of Intergenerational Faculty Mentoring
Edna B. Chun and Alvin Evans

“For the most part, US higher education has not recognized the value of intergenerational workforce practices as a valuable source of expertise and transmission of institutional knowledge. But faculty mentoring programs are the exception: they represent one of the most highly developed intergenerational practices in higher education today.”

The Power of Reverse Faculty Mentoring Programs
Edna B. Chun and Alvin Evans

The authors describe a type of intergenerational mentoring effort that “reverses hierarchical relationships and creates a level playing field for the transmission of knowledge and skills.”

Faculty Support

Five Ways Administrators Can Show Faculty Support
Mary C. Clement

Drawing on 42 years of experience, the author details five ways to show true support for faculty: positive hiring, ongoing induction, clear communication, knowledge and acknowledgement of faculty members’ work, and use of faculty members’ strengths.

The FOCUS on Faculty Model of Crisis Leadership: Remote Leadership Support across Institutional Contexts
Russell Carpenter, Michael G. Strawser, Kevin Dvorak, Timothy Forde, and Masha Krsmanovic

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided “an opportunity for faculty development professionals to respond urgently to faculty needs in an effort to support and enhance student learning.” The five-point model for faculty leadership presented here is actionable and transferable across operational and institutional contexts.

“Rewarding Support for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty, Part I” and “Rewarding Support for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty, Part II”
Adrianna Kezar

This two-part article details how two institutions—California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Harper College, both recipients of the inaugural Delphi Award from the University of Southern California’s Pullias Center—have worked to support non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF). Their initiatives can serve as models for your institution.

“Improving Support for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty”
Jordan Harper and Adrianna Kezar

This article examines the NTTF support efforts of two more Delphi Award–winning institutions: Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Denver, which sought to improve job security and academic freedom for NTTF and professionalize them, respectively.

Faculty Coaching

"Coaching: Developing Your Faculty One Conversation at a Time"
Carla B. Swearingen

“Coaching is a relationship frequently leveraged in the business sector but is not a well-established paradigm in higher education. Academics, however, can benefit just as much from a coaching approach, and the field is beginning to gain traction for training academic leaders. This article defines coaching, elucidates the benefits, outlines two basic competencies, and provides a few examples of how to coach in the context of a typical conversation."

Faculty Development FAQ

What is professional development, and why is it important?

According to Wikipedia, “Professional development is learning to earn or maintain professional credentials such as academic degrees to formal coursework, attending conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage. There is a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.” Without professional development, workplaces, including those in higher ed, may experience stagnation and employee disengagement.

What is a faculty development plan?

A faculty development plan is a plan for helping faculty grow both personally and professionally by participating in educational and training programs. Different institutions of higher education have different kinds of faculty development plans. It’s important to figure out an approach that’s well-suited to the needs of your faculty.

How can we improve faculty development?

There are many ways to improve faculty development. Again, these will vary depending on your institution and the needs of your faculty. The articles above can help you get started.

How do you engage faculty in professional development?

Engaging faculty in professional development is fraught with challenges, and there’s no magic bullet solution. Articles such as those above, however, provide a variety of strategies that can help you more effectively engage faculty in development efforts.