Professional Development of Academics (2018-2019)

Professional development (PD) is known to be one of the key determinants for improving the quality and relevance of education and learning. There are, however, quite a number of barriers and limitations to effective professional learning among academics working in higher education. This study provides a synthesis and analysis of 11 innovative and emergent practices for academics’ professional development that have the potential to overcome the known obstacles academic staff face when aiming to improve and innovate teaching practices. It is accompanied by a technical report that contains the background literature review as well as a more detailed account of 11 cases.

The Communication ‘A renewed agenda for higher education’ (European Commission, 2017) argues for higher education institutions and systems that are effective in education, and for their modernisation. The PD of academics is key to ensure that teaching and learning take place at the highest possible quality, and that academics have appropriate recognition of their work. My role in this project was research designer, project leader, researcher and co-author.

The outcomes of this study were two reports, referred to as ‘twin reports’:

Innovating Professional development in Higher Education: An analysis of practices’ (2019). This report presents a discussion on how innovative professional development practices in higher education can help improve the teaching and the career progression of academics. It explores successful models and provides policy recommendations for higher education institutions and EU Member States. It accompanies the technical report ‘Innovating Professional Development in Higher Education: Case Studies’, JRC 2019.

Innovating Professional Development in Higher Education: Case studies’ (2019) This report contains a literature review and in-depth analyses of eleven case studies involving innovative practices for the professional development of academics. The goal is to highlight not only what is new in current practices but also the future prospects for higher education institutions in Europe and the challenges they face. It accompanies the Science for Policy report ‘Innovating Professional Development in Higher Education: An Analysis of Practices’, JRC 2019.

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