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Abstract

The number of ‘staff developers’ in Higher Education Institutions is increasing — many are new to the job and some are part‐time although there is a large number who have been working in this field for many years. Their remit is to evaluate training and development requirements and to organize their provision. But what kind of support do these staff need to help them better carry out their role as professional staff developers? Staff developers registered for an annual staff development conference provided, in advance, written statements about their perceived needs. These were categorized into ‘needs areas’ and used as the input for small‐group discussion at the conference. Discussion groups devised three alternative approaches to satisfy the needs area on which they were working. These approaches were then ranked by preference by all conference participants. Participants also ranked by importance the needs areas. The main finding of the study based on the number and types of statement received and the ranking data was that staff developers want more opportunities to meet and to share resources and experiences with others working in similar posts. Also, rather than developing new materials, what is already available should be more widely disseminated. There was no support for a formal qualification in staff development.

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