Question
Asked 13th Mar, 2018
  • Society Research Group, DkIT

Is Professional Development important for academic success in higher education?

For the last year, I have been a member of the Professional Development Expert Group of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, mentoring a pilot group of 'teachers and researchers' exploring the National Forum framework and developing a working approach to PD in HE. <https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/about/professional-development-expert-group/)>
Do you consider PD as part of your working life? Are you a participant or mentor of such a group? Are there ways to work PD into our HE discourse?

Most recent answer

17th Apr, 2020
Abdelkader Mohamed Abdelkader Elsayed
Dhofar University
Professional development is very important in all stages of life.

Popular answers (1)

13th Mar, 2018
Irshad Ullah
Education Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
According to definition Education is life and life is education. So learning is a continuous process. To keep progress in any field and to maintain the profession and organization in progress professional development is required. As different research groups and International Journals are the easy and approachable from everywhere platform for it. if discuss it as a subject may be some thing different.
5 Recommendations

All Answers (40)

13th Mar, 2018
Irshad Ullah
Education Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
According to definition Education is life and life is education. So learning is a continuous process. To keep progress in any field and to maintain the profession and organization in progress professional development is required. As different research groups and International Journals are the easy and approachable from everywhere platform for it. if discuss it as a subject may be some thing different.
5 Recommendations
13th Mar, 2018
Mahmoud H Onsa
University of Khartoum
Staff member must b involved every day life problem so as to reflect that experience to his students. That will include the participation in the country's committees such as developing scientific standards, solving development problems, etc....
3 Recommendations
13th Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
Would you agree that the formation and maintenance of a community of practice of fellow professionals is an essential step?
4 Recommendations
13th Mar, 2018
Beemnet Mengesha Kassahun
Kyungpook National University
I agree with the responses of Dr. Irshad Ullah , Mahmoud H Onsa , Bernadette Brereton
To contribute some more:
Professional Development plays a vital role for quality and success in teaching and learning in Universities. Professional Development provides academics with job satisfaction and in the process helping to build better universities with competent lecturers. The key personnel in universities who play an important role to bring about transformation and quality products are the lecturers. The academic staff is a crucial element in any university educational program. Academic staff is mainly responsible for the implementation of all educational processes in a university set up. Effective professional development in universities has become more crucial in this rapidly changing teaching and learning environments. Significant professional development is required in universities to provide academics with the skills to use current methods and will enhance their pedagogical skills.
I have got some more interesting documents for your further readings. Please go through them and I hope they are really helpful to you.
Enjoy!!
3 Recommendations
13th Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
Is the mentoring role important?
2 Recommendations
13th Mar, 2018
Hussin Jose Hejase
Al Maaref University
Community of practice is essential to continue rejuvenating teaching and learning by continuously exchanging ideas and best practices.
1 Recommendation
14th Mar, 2018
Gouravjeet Singh Ghumaan
Punjabi University, Patiala
PD is very important for your academic success, because PD enhances Personality, develop formal and ethical aspects and also it can develop various required skills. it enhances your impression during an interview, lecture or some kind of oral examination or viva.
2 Recommendations
14th Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
I agree that community of practice is crucial as evidenced in our 'Teachers and Researchers' PD group. The use of technology is a crucial means to push the work forward and collaborate meaningfully. Our group trialled over 50 different technologies over a working period of 12 weeks - a feat which an individual would find very time-consuming.
2 Recommendations
14th Mar, 2018
Nahida El Assi
Université de Montréal
Professional developments is a means not only to staying up to date, but also to joining in different socio-educational groups, testing your knowledge in relation to recent advancements, projecting yourself as knowledgeable expert in front of your students or trainees, and thus gaining trust of all. Professional development may even promote you to a higher position in the existing hierarchy.
3 Recommendations
14th Mar, 2018
Evellyn Rosario
State University of New York College at Buffalo
Certainly! Not doing it is like a doctor without keeping up-to-date with the most recent knowledge and information about illnesses and treatment. It has to do with competency and quality of service shared and delivered.
3 Recommendations
14th Mar, 2018
Maria Laura Ferreyra
Instituto Universitario Aeronáutico
Hello, Bernadette.
I think it would help if you would explain what is your definition of professional development, because there are many and they comprise many different things.
I think the simplest form of professional development is the cycle "do- observe- reflect-plan" and it is useful for all professions. If the observe and the reflect stages are not present, no amount of courses or training will make people more profficient.
The problem is that currently people are being affected by "Continuous Partial Attention"(CPA) a condition that increases with the use of technology and that basically means that we are attending several things at once- that is, cognitive multitasking. CPA produces continuous stress and is steadily on the rise. We are all victims of CPA because it makes us less patient asnd diminishes our capacity to focus on a task and the time we can attend to it.
Since people have a hard time paying attention, they learn less at courses and training sessions (because in order to remember and process something, you must pay attention firs). Since their attention is divided and scattered, they do not pay enough attention to the results, impacts and byproducts of their actions. And therefore they do not have enough inputs or time for the reflection (sensemaking) step and their development becames increasingly shallow. This seems to be the biggest problem in professional development across production sectors and professions.
3 Recommendations
15th Mar, 2018
Quentin Cox
Teekay Shipping
Broadly speaking I concur with the sentiment expressed in most of these posts, that PD is a positive factor. I'm approaching retirement and looking back I cannot claim to have subscribed to an specific PD programme, yet everyday work in commerce involves the same activity as a formal PD programme would, just to maintain awareness of your own industry. It's just that I don't ask for a certificate or piece of paper to reward this maintenance of awareness. I certainly identify with the Communities of Practice theory and I think that an awareness of PD within HE would be beneficial. Also, I'm currently studying for my PhD and one point that strikes me about industry-based study by academics, is that there is an alarming disconnect between academics and industry practitioners. The industry I'm involved in is the maritime industry and whilst there are many and various factors for this state of affairs, I do find it somewhat disingenuous that so-called researchers spend a fortnight on a container ship and suddenly they think they're an expert on how ships' crews feel about being away from home for months on end and all the challenges they face. Having been at sea for decades earlier in life, cadet to Master and now striving for some kind of academic credibility, I do notice this disconnect. Students in HE will be well advised to come to terms with the idea that the learning process does not stop once they receive their degree.
4 Recommendations
15th Mar, 2018
Douglas Raybeck
Hamilton College
Following the consequences of lacking PD, the result is apt to be the marginalization of those who have 'fallen asleep', or even an offer of early retirement. I have witnessed both in my long years of teaching and the wider community has been supportive of sanctions, as the ineptitude of the malefactor was hardly a secret.
3 Recommendations
15th Mar, 2018
Mickey Slimp
University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
Having developed professional development programs for more than two decades, I'm still amazed at the impact they have. With nearly 2000 completers of courses between 1999 & 2007 on internet teaching methods and implementing online student support, individuals continue to share with me the impact their mid-career studies had on altering the direction of their careers for the better. More than a few have state and national awards under their belts for distance learning and educational innovation. Now in it's tenth year, I've had the opportunity to conduct a summer academy for college leaders in eLearning and the results continue.
Needs can be simple - today a program director asked me to coordinate the planning of a teaching with technology series for three departments over the summer. Although professors enter the teaching field with PhDs, MDs, and more, instruction in classroom methods and tools is very often simply anticipated to be there. Presented in the right context, professional development can make their own teaching far simpler and move it from being a burdensome interference with research into one of their most rewarding and personally satisfying activities.
3 Recommendations
16th Mar, 2018
Hedilka Jimenez
University of Santander UDES, Colombia; Valledupar
Although professional development is very important, it is not decisive to strengthen the knowledge schemes in the teaching-learning process, I consider that an individual self-evaluation process is required that allows the teacher to establish improvement actions that strengthen their praxis, enabling and improving the teaching and learning environments.
3 Recommendations
16th Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
As a National Forum PD Expert, I found the typology of PD Activities a very useful tool for self measure during the process of our PD Group work. The four main activity groups include collaborative/non-collaborative; structured/unstructured; formal/informal; accredited/non-accredited. This allows the HE professional to assess and develop all aspects of their professional lives. What was of great interest during this working group was the reported evidence of the gain in personal efficacy and confidence which the work within the PD community of practice evinced.
3 Recommendations
16th Mar, 2018
Harry Barton Essel
Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology
I agree with the previous contributor on the fact that Professional Development (PD) has 100% impact on academic success of teachers.
2 Recommendations
18th Mar, 2018
Farida Mohamed
Alryiada college for health sciences
yes, of course Professional Development (PD) has a great impact on academic success of teachers.
2 Recommendations
18th Mar, 2018
Samy Azer
King Saud University
Thank you Bernadette Brereton for your great question. I think the question of "Is Professional Development important for academic success in higher education?" should be "Is there evidence that PD will make an impact on students' learning outcomes or achievements in higher education?" We all know that the main purpose of PD is not just about enhancement of teachers' skills or teachers' knowledge, but more important about making an impact on students' learning outcomes. The same rule applies to PD of doctors and allied health staff, is the goal improvement of the skills and knowledge of doctors and nurses etc, or the main goal is making an impact on the morbidity and mortality figures in a community? I think we always come to the simple conclusion, "yes, PD is important and useful"; and we totally ignore the second question, "did we measure the impact of PD on students' learning outcomes?" However, we are now more into the second question. Considering the budget allocated to PD in different areas and professions, the governments are interested in finding proper answers for the impact of PD on students' learning outcomes, and in the health care systems we are interested to know the impact of PD on the mortality and morbidity figures and the improvement of quality of health care at population level. These areas are the heart of your question, and funding bodies are interested to see the evidence. Let me ask you this question, "how many teachers who had attended a PD workshop ended with conclusions such as this, "it was a great day", "the food was excellent", "I liked the speaker comments when he/she said....; it was really funny", "nice folders" and "great resources", but nothing was made to teaching and learning style in the classroom or the school because the training was about curriculum change and we cannot apply these ideas into our school. I think these areas need to be investigated and research is needed to give you the right answer, we are working in this area in regards to PD of doctors and allied health members. I hope this answer helps you. Regards, Prof S Azer.
5 Recommendations
19th Mar, 2018
Hameda Suwaed
Sabratha University, Libya
professional development is a process not an event. attached is my paper about a model of professional development in higher education in Libya.
2 Recommendations
20th Mar, 2018
Inna Kovalynska
Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University
I beleive that being a life-long learner would imply professional develoment of every kind, including PhD and scientific research. In my view the problem here is that a lot of professional teachers do not consider their professional development as a crucial factor as it does not give any immediate result in a form of a material benefits. Today Pedagogy has become a field of intersection of different sciences and a teacher needs more new skills including IT technologies etc which are rather difficult for teachers of older age to aassess.
3 Recommendations
21st Mar, 2018
Gregg W. Etter
University of Central Missouri
Professional development by professors can come in two forms. First is acquiring more extensive knowledge in your speciality area. This is essential to stay current.Second is learning new research or teaching techniques. This is also essential in order to stay relevant in your field.
5 Recommendations
22nd Mar, 2018
Kezang Sherab
Royal University of Bhutan
I feel that Professional Development is definitely important for academic success in Higher Education. It helps to stay current in one's field and promote life-long learning. I agree with Suwaed that PD is a process not an event. If we think of PD as an event, it will not be effective. Research has shown that the cascading model of PD has been ineffective. So PD has to be ongoing. I find promotion of action research on one's own practice is a useful form of ongoing PD.
2 Recommendations
22nd Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
Action research, by its cyclical nature, can have limited effect in the day-to-day nature of excellent teaching practice.. I would posit, however, Kezang, that the reflective process is a highly effective means of increasing teacher efficacy and confidence, as well as increasing the student-centred focus.
2 Recommendations
22nd Mar, 2018
Reza Biria
Shahid Ashrafi Isfahani University -Isfahan- Iran
Hello,
In the characterization of postmodern era, scholars like Kumaravadivellu very clearly point to the necessity of the teachers professional development in the present day and age. Teachers need to develop their knowledge about the content they teach and the formats of presentation they employ. They also need to recognize the needs of the learners critically by identifying their wants and reconciling them with the needs and necessities specified by the educational stakeholders. Alternatively, they should take every teaching situation as unique and know that the goals of teaching should cater to social praxis , educational equality and perpetual change towards moral standards that guarantee learners' tolerance of the opposing ideas and cultural diversity.
Best regards,
R. Biria
4 Recommendations
22nd Mar, 2018
Rohen Yumnam
Manipur University, Canchipur, Manipur; National Institute of Technology Manipur
yes
1 Recommendation
22nd Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
Thank you to everyone of you who has taken the time to consider and respond to my question on PD over the last 9 days. As well as providing some very useful insights and links, this thread is providing evidence of the usefulness of a global community of practice enabled through a technological medium such as our excellent Researchgate.com. A very enjoyable and thought-provoking national Irish week for me.
1 Recommendation
22nd Mar, 2018
Hussin Jose Hejase
Al Maaref University
Very constructive thoughts and reflections of expertise on the topic, however I posit that closing gaps in one's competencies is a good starting point [similar to needs analysis] towards PD. Many times getting acquainted with different perspectives of how things are done adds value to such process.
1 Recommendation
22nd Mar, 2018
Bernadette Brereton
Society Research Group, DkIT
Agreed Hussin and with that said, the value of on-going collaboration in the building of trust in the community of practice is a key aspect of the work.
1 Recommendation
23rd Mar, 2018
Tomas Zuklin
AWECC
I believe, in order to answer your question, that firstly we need to define "What is academic success?" Is it excellence in teaching? Excellence in research? Number of publications? Value of received grant? The answer is different for every person.
HE serves two main purposes - teaching and research. But it also involves other often tedious administrative tasks such as applying for grants, getting publishing deals, networking...
I will limit my answer to "skills" for academic success divided into three areas:
1) Teaching skills
- how to teach - just basics, every teacher has own style, but many students suffer during lectures because the renowned professor (and expert researcher in his/her field) cannot convey the message properly;
- emotional intelligence courses etc.;
- presentation skills - useful not only for teaching, but also for conferences.
2) Research skills
- new research methods;
- multidisciplinary approaches to research;
- grant proposals writing.
3) Personal skills
- communication skills - not only focused on general communication, but also on how to convey your findings to people outside your field;
- time management;
- assertiveness (much needed especially for students slaving under their supervisors day and night);
- language learning - learning foreign language is always important and can open new doors;
- IT savviness - even in the 21st century, many students/teachers/researchers do not use modern technologies as effectively as they could.
Every teacher and researcher should focus on developing ALL of aforementioned skills, not just cherry-pick what is "useful", in order to be a contributing member of academic community.
However, I found the best way how to develop my skills is to have a good mentor who can be followed and who leads by example, who will offer help and guidance. So even though I fully support organized development networks, having a good mentor is always a plus.
2 Recommendations
24th Mar, 2018
Suman Vij
Shri Guru Ram Rai University
Yes i think professional development plays very important role in our life as by developing it we gain more confidence in dealing people. In education sector it becomes more important as interaction is a very important part in teaching. We are good teacher when our interaction is impressive and understandable. I believe more you grow professionally more you know how to reach people.
2 Recommendations
12th Jun, 2018
Ildefonso Gustavo Díaz Sandoval
University of Medical Sciences, Artemisa
Professional Development is an essential part of the academic life of a teacher.
I agree with all answers here.
All the very best,
Litart
14th Jul, 2019
Hung Luu
Can Tho University
Research
16th Aug, 2019
Mohamed Hossni
British University in Dubai
Professional development is unequivocally important for academic success in higher education.
Like any profession, academics should undergo a pre-service training on teaching methods and learning theories in order to be aware of the nature of learning processes and learning in higher education.
By and large, continuous professional development is left to the initiative of professors and universities. However, universities are required to draw up an in-service training plan after which they can draw on limited financial support for the in-service training of professors.
1 Recommendation
16th Aug, 2019
Samy Azer
King Saud University
Dear Bernadette Brereton, I published a paper recently on top-cited articles in medical professionalism. The paper covers vital publications that have changed the face we see and teach professionalism in medicine worldwide. I believe there are no boundaries to limit professionalism in medicine from that in any other discipline in higher education. This article is for everyone interested to know more about the topic and critical milestones in this field. I enclose a copy.
1 Recommendation
2nd Jan, 2020
Irshad Ullah
Education Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
I think yes it is required and important because in modern world in teaching learning environment even in organizational behavior in education one of the main requirement is the continuous professional development.
1 Recommendation
17th Apr, 2020
Abdelkader Mohamed Abdelkader Elsayed
Dhofar University
Professional development is very important in all stages of life.

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