Posted by: codecalla | April 26, 2015

Professional Development

Professional development as a professor is one of the trickier aspects of teaching.  Colleges frequently have mini-sessions to train professors about specific programs, techniques, or teaching strategies.  Any program changes also require a professor to adhere to the different standards in accordance with accreditation.  Professional development opportunities depend on the individual and what they seek to accomplish in their career, but additionally what is inherently useful to bring to their individual classrooms.

Cultural practices and teaching techniques should be studied.  Professional training in understanding how students from other cultures approach topics and learning could be invaluable for reaching the diverse student population.  Often, the professor must mitigate the difficulty in students’ understandings and apprise them of additional support at the college.  It can be difficult to track the needs of many students, but it can be rewarding to take a little time before diving into course material to talk informally with the students.  The informality of it allows students to reach out more easily if they need assistance later.

Adjunct faculty have training conferences, but their situation is problematic because often their attention is divided between several schools.  Students have to rely on the passion and the commitment of the adjunct professor to assist them, rather than having a full time advocate with solid campus connections.  Advisors and counselors make up a larger percentage of staff at colleges now, in part to take care of the empty space left by lacking full time professors.  Full time professors have students in their charge, who advise them on academic choices and prompt them in their careers, sometimes giving references letters or other immeasurable support.  Students feel more of a connection with their professors, perhaps, because they have had more face time with them.  Professional development opportunities train adjuncts in advising, teaching, and networking, but they have limited means and time.

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