Measuring Impact of Professional Development
The Center conducts evaluation to ensure that the professional development provided for faculty does in fact lead to faculty success. Success is defined as meeting personal professional goals as well as goals identified in the university Academic Master Plan (AMP). The 7-year AMP, launched in 2012, includes 9 transformative goals to propel the university into the 21st Century, with a heavy focus on teaching and learning. As a result, assessments implemented by the Center are carefully aligned with institutional priorities.
In recent years we began implementing a standard assessment tool to measure the impact of Center activities. This paper and pencil tool is administered immediately following all programming and collects demographic data about faculty participants as well as measures attainment of pre-identified program outcomes. The tool also assesses the confidence level obtained for specific skills or the understanding of material presented in addition to the self-reported likelihood that the faculty will apply this newly learned information to their teaching.
All collected survey data is entered into a master database and summarized for annual reports to provide formative feedback to program facilitators as well as provide internal summative information to the center regarding possible trends or shortcomings. For example, annual reports include the number and type of program offerings along with demographics of participants (i.e. college, department, academic rank etc.) to better understand how Center activities are addressing faculty needs. Where needs are not being met, programs are revised or new ones are created to continue to address evolving faculty needs, particularly those related to the use of technology in the classroom.
What has worked particularly well for us is that many of our workshops are led by faculty. This typically means that workshops are timely and responsive to the needs and interests across the faculty. In addition, all facilitators must supply beforehand a detailed list of workshop outcomes. This practice not only promotes more productive workshops, but also drives the assessment administered to participants after the session, allowing for better measurement of impact.
Some Center activities are evaluated through more formal studies. As an example, the Center implemented a New Junior Faculty program this past year. The 22 participants engaged in year-long programming which involved a mentoring component, an introduction to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), and peer observation of teaching. The evaluation of the program will involve a multi-year study to track the 22 participants through tenure. Data collection will occur annually and will include scientifically validated questionnaires which measure differences in experience of teaching, research, service, RPT process, and overall job satisfaction including perceived levels of stress. Other measures will include peer observation of teaching to determine use of evidence-based active learning strategies, SoTL activity, and eventually rates of earning tenure. A comparison group will be identified from new faculty who entered UC in the same time period to determine program effectiveness. Study outcomes will inform not only future New Junior Faculty programming, but the study itself also provides a research model for others to emulate.
Center Profile: Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning - University of Cincinnati-Main Campus