Professional Development in Academia

by robertr

December 28th, 2009

What is professional development?  It is the knowledge and proficiency maintained or furthered for your job.  It can also mean a lot of different things: it could be a university degree or a mandatory conference.  The means through which such development occurs vary too, professional consultations and training are among them.

In the academic circuit, professional development has proved a vital source for success.  It provides educators with job satisfaction, helping to build better schools and universities.  Further, it is a necessary source due to the increasing complicated situations schools encounter—from assimilating constantly shifting technologies to accommodating students with varied backgrounds.  It can be daunting, but professional development has helped, especially in getting educators to sustain the increasingly scrupulous and exacting standards states require of their academic institutions.

Most of these institutions offer opportunities for growth to their educators and professors through workshops.  A specialist/consultant in whatever field of a select group of educators comes in and trains them in innovative ways to teach their subject and how to approach it in original ways.  However, there are those who dislike such a tactic, claiming it does not necessarily provide the most comprehensive way of improvement for each subject, in particular, literature and English studies.  In addition, not everyone learns the same way, and that includes the adults doing the lecturing and grading.

For about twenty years now, the discourse about professional development in the education field has been supporting a different way of applying professional development in the academia: it holds that with a better functional model, the stress should be upon the practical and scholarly.  In other words, a university might have outstanding professional development available, but unless it demonstrates how the things taught in it thread into the larger aspect of what it means to the school and how it will enrich the school, such training often loses the interest of educators.  Rather, it emphasizes pertinent topics for discussion in the field of education and good criticism.  These are among its copious facets separating it from other modules of professional development.  In each and every field, there should always be space for not only the workers to improve but also the means by which to improve them.

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