December 17th, 2013

A Checklist for Effective Faculty Development Programs


Faculty development has become a priority at many academic institutions as a way to improve the quality of academic programs and to respond to emerging faculty, student, program, and industry needs.

To create effective faculty development programs, it’s important to get the faculty members’ perspectives on what is actually needed. Without this input and the opportunity for faculty to collaborate and engage in growth and dialogue around common topics of interest, the essence of faculty development is lost.

I was fortunate to coordinate and work with great teams at my institution to develop and implement professional development programs for our faculty. The faculty offered ideas and suggestions that resulted in programs that are focused and relevant to their professional lives.

Through this experience, I have created the following checklist to ensure that faculty development efforts are effective.

Effective faculty development program checklist:

  • Understand the roles and expectations of your faculty.
  • Develop respect and trust with your faculty as learners.
  • Review a wide perspective for consistent new abilities that addresses all the aspects that impact faculty success in each setting.
  • Connect the institutional/organizational culture with your faculty development culture.
  • Conduct a needs assessment to establish relevant program outcomes.
  • Solicit timely and effective feedback.
  • Design and implement a variety of programs to meet diverse needs.
  • Prepare staff developers.
  • Implement reward structures for participation in faculty development programs.
  • Build a culture for learning based on collaboration, teamwork, and shared vision.

The following is a checklist for ensuring that the institution is appropriately committed to faculty development.

Institutional commitment toward faculty development checklist:

  • Get the support of senior administrators for faculty development programs.
  • Determine and provide the necessary human and financial resources for the program.
  • Identify relevant leadership.
  • Focus on realistic outcomes through training and workshops.
  • Focus on consistent themes for a number of years.
  • Set benchmarks for faculty learning.

The essence of faculty development is not in the quantity of activities but in open dialogue, the celebration of successes, and the analysis of the failures in learning processes to improve future development activities.

Amena Shahid is a lecturer in the College of Business Administration and associate director of the Teaching & Learning Center at Prince Sultan University in Saudi Arabia.

Reprinted from Faculty Perspective of Faculty Development, Academic Leader, 28.7 (2012): 2.

  • Kerrie Sommerfeld

    A great checklist, as a consultant for providers of Australian vocational education and former Learning and Academic support manager, I agree with your list. One of the most important is for managers to support and encourage continued professional learning. This is a big challenge when faced with limited funding for professional development.

    I think the other big one is for both teachers/faculty and managers to develop a strategic approach to the development needs that will provide the biggest impact on improving student outcomes, and the joy of teaching

  • Brenda Collings

    Thanks for this post, it is informative and helpful. I am a member of our campus committee regarding teaching.
    I would like to know if you have developed the " benchmarks for faculty learning" and if you would be willing to share those.
    thanks, Brenda

    University of New Brunswick, Canada

  • vijay

    all in one place, very informative, great work