The purpose of this paper is to focus on mapping the ways in which HE institutions enhance faculty members’ professional development. More precisely, by introducing a case from one of the well-established universities in Iran, the authors aim to examine the focus of faculty development (FD) activities and how FD is conducted, with a view to shedding light on the challenges of and disparities between faculty roles and areas of FD in higher education (HE) in Iran as a developing country.
In order to explore and map the characteristics of FD and analyse the trends that Iranian HE institutions are experiencing in this area, a sequential explanatory multiple sources design, consisting of two distinct phases, was implemented (Creswell, 2012). In this design, the documents regarding the faculty professional development (decisions, agreements, The Job Structure Memorandum, and relevant documents and policies at the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology and the studied HE institution) were analysed first. Next, field records were collected by means of a series semi-structured interviews with faculty members in the given HE setting.
The analysis of the collected data brought to the surface three themes, namely, FD: policies and procedures, faculties professional development in practice, and associated challenges and future prospects. These initial findings helped to understand if and how FD activities occur as well as map the challenges and complexities in faculties’ CPD in Iranian HE. Further, it discusses possible solutions to develop relevant and practical professional development.
This case study is partly limited to a group of faculty members’ experiences and reflections on FD in one Iranian HE institution. Conducting additional surveys and observations with a large sample of the faculties and students may verify and consolidate the findings of the study and contribute to further insights on the ways faculties’ professional development can be transformed.
Taking into account the findings of the study, a dynamic framework for continued professional development of faculties in Iran is developed.
The findings of the study present valuable insights into the FD procedures, challenges and paradoxes that seem to shape FD in Iranian HE institutions. Moreover, the findings indicated much-needed structural modifications to simplify and harmonise the policies and procedures to harness profession development. To conclude, the initiatives and action plans that may contribute to FD and reshape the Iranian HE landscape is discussed. The applications and implications are also relevant for similar HE systems in developing countries.
The authors would like to thank the anonymous peer reviewers for their useful comments on the early draft of the paper, and also all the faculty members who kindly agreed to participate in this study.
Masoumi, D., Hatami, J. and Pourkaremi, J. (2019), "Continuing professional development: policies, practices and future directions", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 98-111. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-03-2018-0109Download as .RIS
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