Pedagogy and Professional Development Programs for Faculty Members
The topic for this week’s discussion is about one thing that can be changed in future higher education. For me, I believe comprehensive pedagogy and professional development programs are essential for faculty members in the future higher education. In Virginia Tech, we have impressive and well-developed pedagogy and other related high education courses for graduate students, e.g. PFP. However, once we graduate students move to the next step as faculty members, the pedagogy and professional training goes into a stagnant period. Although there are workshops targeted at faculty members once in a while, both the time and energy faculty members spent on pedagogy development is far less than research, teaching, and other academic work. As the rapid development of society, economy, and technology in the modern era, students’ needs change over the time, so should the teaching focus, approach, and contents keep up the pace. Hence, the pedagogy and professional development programs can be proposed for all faculty members. It can be a flexible program consists with lectures, workshops, and conferences within which faculty from different disciplines are welcome to share their experience. Considering the existing working load for faculty members, these programs can be set for once or twice per month, and continue throughout the whole academic career. The ultimate target is to foster a comfortable albeit professional environment to help faculty members jump out of their current career, sit down as a student, have an inclusive conversation about their struggles and new findings regarding higher education, and most importantly, learn from each other’s experience and leave with constructive thoughts/suggestions that can be implemented in their future teaching.
To the best of my knowledge, some universities have already implemented the Pedagogy and Professional Development Programs for Faculty Members, Princeton University for instance. These programs can serve as complementary electives to faculty’s current job and help polish their teaching skill sets to remain in the best state.