Faculty Development Positively Impacts Student Learning


Middle States Standard III declares:

An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: …2. Student learning experiences that are designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (full-time or part-time) and/or other appropriate professionals who are: …provided with and utilize sufficient opportunities, resources, and support for professional growth and innovation…

However, continued professional faculty development is not solely an accreditation requirement. A new book highlighted by Inside Higher Ed reveals that professional development can enhance faculty instruction of students and promote stronger student learning outcomes. The book, Faculty Development and Student Learning: Assessing the Connections, reveals:

  • Faculty with a longer history of professional development experience greater changes in their teaching.
  • Faculty attitudes matter. Those who participate in faculty development out of a desire to improve are more likely to implement the new approaches they pick up from such training.
  • Faculty development has a positive impact on student learning outcomes.

In the larger context of organizational research, these outcomes are neither novel nor surprising. This book confirms the conclusions of a growing body of organizational research that finds a culture of improvement, tolerance of risk taking, flexibility in adopting new approaches, and attention to measurement of outcomes can lead to improved performance.