Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

The Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre Technological University Dublin, 2018.


While a significant body of work on the practice of faculty development exists, research on faculty developers as professionals is limited, and few have explored the profession from the perspective of faculty developers themselves (Shaffer, 2011). Specifically, this reflective commentary begins to address the question of how best to prepare and support current and future faculty developers for their ambiguous and complex roles and their need to function within the changing environment of higher education institutions. Since embarking on a role in an Irish Higher Education Institution in 1999 as a Faculty Developer, it has been crucial to consider my values as an educator, and how they inform the multifaceted role. A personal and professional value system certainly requires considerable thought as it is necessary to understand what it is that the faculty developer wishes to evaluate in their work, why and for what purpose. The role of the professional body for faculty developers internationally is more important than ever in providing much needed support an networking opportunities. This critically reflective commentary is structured under the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) values and examples are given to illustrate each in action. Similar to the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education popular in the U.S., SEDA is the professional body for faculty developers in the UK and Ireland. When one is new to teaching in higher education, advice and support from a faculty developer (amongst others), can be invaluable. Equally, when one is a number of years down the teaching road, having a faculty developer within the institution can be a way to reach out to try something different. Therefore a key aspect of the faculty development role is to continue to motivate academics when it comes to continual development in teaching and learning; the ‘journey’ metaphor is overused today but it can be useful for the faculty developer to bear in mind that immediacy of results for oneself and others is not always viable or even appropriate. Within my role, it has been useful to continue to question the things that are either too familiar or too removed from my everyday concerns. My ‘performance’ as a faculty developer comes from deeply within myself and therefore the constructs used are based on a mixture of personal beliefs, professional knowledge, practice and social context. Figure 1 shows these values and main influences on my work.