From the Halls of Harvard to the Age of the Networker: 140 Years of Educational Development in U.S. Higher Education

From the Halls of Harvard to the Age of the Networker: 140 Years of Educational Development in U.S. Higher Education

Amy Aldridge Sanford, Kellie W. Smith
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2410-7.ch010
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Professional development in U.S. higher education was operationalized with sabbatical leaves for 150 years but has rapidly evolved through five ages since then – from conference attendance during the Age of the Scholar (1950s-60s) to the centrality of centers of teaching and learning in today's Age of the Networker (2000s-2010s). It continues to be influenced by everchanging professoriate and student populations, beginning with the introduction of the GI Bill and in the mid-20th century to the modern dependence of contingent faculty. Over the years, tenure lines have decreased, more students work full time, lawmakers and other stakeholders are more critical of colleges and universities, and students are less prepared academically but are more savvy with social justice. Faculty developers must carefully consider all of these matters when planning for the old standbys (e.g., new faculty orientation, navigating course management systems) and looking to what is needed for the future (e.g., accessible design, self-care, legislative mandates).
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Similar to other professionals, faculty at Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) require professional development opportunities to remain relevant, feel challenged, and advance in their careers. Harvard University’s initial response to these needs of the professoriate more than a century ago was to award select faculty with sabbatical leave – time spent away from day-to-day classroom and university responsibilities to pursue research opportunities. Modern educational development for the professoriate has expanded to include workshops, orientations, classroom space overhauls, book clubs, mentoring programs, receptions, information fairs, faculty learning communities, peer observations, symposia, and many other options. The evolution of educational development in higher education has been one of ongoing change and growth and has greatly been influenced by societal and political happenings outside the academy both domestically and abroad. This chapter presents a comprehensive overview of the history, current trends, specific programming, and future outlook of educational development in the United States IHE.

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