Theoretical Bases And Procedures For Instituting A Model For Faculty Development In Higher Education
Gerlovich, Jack A.
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The problem. The problem dealt with in this study is the concern for faculty development in a time of diminishing student enrollments, reduced faculty mobility, increasing pressure for accountability, and economic inflation. Faculty vitality and teaching effectiveness were found to be concerns within such an environment. The purpose of the study was to develop a model which would enable maximum development of existing personnel within an institution. The study actually served two functions; produced the model and served as a historical foundation for a three-year faculty development program at Drake University. Procedures. It was shown that independent higher education institutions such as Drake University, without excessive outside regulations, provided a unique situation in which to pursue a program of needed change, faculty development, and evaluation. Following a thorough needs assessment through standardized instruments, literature search, visitation of parallel programs and information exchange with other institutions, goals were identified by the Faculty Development Office staff and the Faculty Advisory Committee. Alternatives for goals achievement were obtained from the faculty through proposed projects and Faculty Development Office sponsored seminars. Last, a nonthreatening, qualitative, and quantitative evaluation was conducted on each project funded, to assess its effectiveness in meeting these goals. All evaluation instruments were designed for the specific needs of each project. Findings. The developed model consisted of three parts: a modified example of a Task Analysis and Timeline for a 3-Year Program, which outlined the duties of the coordinator, researcher, and Faculty Advisory Committee (PAC) in assessing, implementing, and evaluating faculty development programs; a representative Outline for Instituting a Faculty Development Program From a Needs Assessment, which showed the importance of a comprehensive needs assessment for goals establishment, the advantages of faculty proposed projects for goals achievement, and the means for evaluating the effectiveness of such short-term projects and long range climate changes, a Paradigm for Chanqe and Evaluation in Faculty Development Within an Institution, which showed the separate, but parallel purpose to the Faculty Development Office (FDO), connected to the faculty by a projects screen. Involvement through faculty initiated projects, good communications, and a dedicated FAC help assure program acceptance and anxiety reduction. Well informed, organized, sensitive leadership were found to play integral roles in program success. Conclusions. An historical baseline has been developed as part of the three year program at Drake University. The strength of the developed model appears to lie in its applicability to many institutions dealing with maximizing the effectiveness of existing professional personnel. The synthesized instruments provide effective guidelines for: 1) faculty proposed projects; 2) assessment of the merit of projects proposed for funding: 3) a proposals log for bookkeeping and quantification of FAC dispositions toward projects 1 and 4) Likert-type evaluation instruments for assessing the effectiveness of funded projects in meeting program needs and goals. However, further validity and reliability tests should be undertaken for necessary confidence. Recommendations. Administrative priority helps to assure success. The advisory committee should have their normal work load lightened to assure adequate time for meetings and adequate, active participation. External evaluation should be undertaken periodically to assess progress. Establishment of a faculty development board should be explored with distinctive duties of assessment, implementation, and evaluation to help reduce bias and overload. For Drake University specifically, the following recommendations were proposed: 1) reasons for student dropout should be explored, 2) greater administrative and faculty importance should be placed on successfully utilizing standardized instruments at the college and departmental level for assessing climate changes: 3) an incentive system related to periodic review of faculty accomplishments should be explored, 4) the area serviced by Drake University should be assessed for specific needs; and 5) faculty development should become a permanent office, separated from the line bureaucracy.
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