Faculty Development &
Faculty Associate Programs

It's time for Universities around the globe to prioritize the professional development of their Faculty.

Dave Paquin, Faculty Development Champion image
My Background, Philosophy and Teachings:

I have been involved in the professional development of faculty in higher education for the past 20 years.
I have taught at several major universities and I have served as a Director of Faculty at one of the largest universities in the US.
I have developed and implemented an Advanced Certificate program for one of the largest universities in the Middle East.
I have designed, developed and implemented many teacher support groups and education programs based upon participant input and upon the Systematic Approach to Training.
I am a Champion of user-based professional development programs that result in win-win-win outcomes for teachers, organizations and students.
I have developed and taught courses for faculty on Critical Thinking, Education Philosophy, Rubrics, Assessments, Syllabi, Learning Objectives, Active Learning and Mindfulness.

My Philosophy
Active Learning and Reflection are the keys to successful education efforts.  Classroom time is a limited and critical resource and should be used to develop thinking skills, build knowledge and engage learners.  Lecture based education is a last resort.  Interactive discussions, problem and project-based learning, debates, role plays, and continuous, interactive, formative assessments - that also teach - are the essential ingredients to effectively reach and develop students.  
It is amazing that University Faculty are most often held to a lower standard than teachers in K through 12. If you want to teach first graders, you are required to have a degree in Education. If you want to teach college seniors, you need an advanced degree in math or physics or chemistry - but no "education in education" is required.

As a result, college faculty just do what they learned by observing their own college professors. Thus, there is now consistency in syllabi, no attention given to properly written learning objectives, no concept of alignment between LO's, content and assessment. And Active Learning? Who has time, when lectures deliver content so rapidly to large audiences - professors replicate the horrors of their professors who lectured for 60 minutes non-stop to audiences of 200 or more.

Students deserve more. They deserve syllabi that outline course content and delivery. They deserve learning goals and rubrics that accurately tell them what they are going to learn and how they can succeed. They deserve real-world, interactive learning experiences that they can someday apply in their ultimate goal of employment.

And faculty deserve more. They deserve the tools to deliver all those things listed above. Workshops, online courses, peer observations, and other skill development resources can provide the necessary skills. Certainly, the university wants to see consistent syllabi and course design throughout the school that reflects the goals and the mission of the university - but how can they expect that without providing the tools and the knowledge to their faculty?

An important part of the answer lies in the Faculty Certificate Programs that are starting to appear in universities around the globe.  These typically consist of five to ten short courses or workshops that are complemented by peer assessments and research.  The end result is a portfolio of accomplishments that become an important part of the faculty's resume.  They are the essential tools needed to meet the standards required by both the university and its students.
Faculty Development image
Faculty Associate Programs
Many universites around the world have designed and implemented Faculty Associate Programs.  These programs aim to leverage the expertise and passion of top faculty to improve the overall professionalism and effectiveness of the entire faculty family.  Programs vary from university to university depending on needs, but should be based on the following concepts:
1. Clear Objectives: Define the purpose and goals of the program.
2. Selection Criteria: Establish clear criteria for selecting faculty associates.
3. Training and Orientation: Provide comprehensive training and orientation for new faculty associates to familiarize them with program expectations, resources, and support services available to them.
4. Mentorship: Pair faculty associates with experienced mentors who can provide guidance, support, and feedback.
5. Professional Development Opportunities: Offer professional development opportunities tailored to the needs of faculty.
6. Integration with Instutional Goals: Ensure that the activities of the program align with those of the university.
7.Recognition and Rewards: Recognize the contributions of faculty associates through various forms of recognition.
8. Feedback: Implement feedback mechanisms to assess identify areas for improvement.
9. Networking: Facillitate opportunities for faculty to collaborate with each other.
10. Sustainability: Develop a plan for long term sustainability.
Critical Thinking  image
Critical thinking skills are essential in higher education for several reasons:
  1. Problem-Solving: In academia and beyond, individuals frequently encounter complex problems that require analytical thinking and creative solutions. Critical thinking skills enable students to approach these challenges systematically, evaluate evidence, and develop effective strategies for problem-solving.
  2. Analytical Reasoning: Higher education often involves grappling with abstract concepts, theoretical frameworks, and diverse perspectives. Critical thinking skills help students analyze information, identify patterns, and draw logical conclusions, enhancing their ability to engage with complex ideas and make informed judgments.
  3. Evidence-Based Decision Making: In academic research, evidence-based decision making is crucial for producing high-quality scholarship. Critical thinking skills enable students to assess the credibility and relevance of sources, evaluate competing arguments, and construct well-supported arguments based on empirical evidence.
  4. Independent Inquiry: Higher education encourages students to become independent learners and scholars who can engage in original research and contribute to knowledge creation. Critical thinking skills empower students to ask probing questions, formulate hypotheses, and conduct rigorous investigations, fostering intellectual curiosity and scholarly inquiry.
  5. Effective Communication: Critical thinking skills are closely linked to effective communication, as they enable students to articulate their ideas clearly, support their arguments persuasively, and engage in constructive dialogue with others. These communication skills are essential for academic success, professional advancement, and civic engagement.
  6. Resilience and Adaptability: In today's rapidly changing world, individuals need to be adaptable and resilient in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Critical thinking skills help students navigate complexity, tolerate ambiguity, and approach new challenges with confidence and flexibility, enhancing their ability to thrive in diverse academic and professional contexts.
Overall, critical thinking skills are indispensable in higher education because they empower students to think critically, communicate effectively, and adapt to changing circumstances, preparing them to succeed academically, professionally, and personally.

Would you like assistance with a Faculty Associates Program? Or a Faculty Certificate Program?