Needs for Professional Development in Teaching and Learning in an International University

Alev ELCI * and Huseyin YARATAN**
*Senior Instructor, Department of Information Technology, Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazi Magusa, via Mersin 10, Turkey.
**Asst. Prof. Dr., Department of Educational Sciences, Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazi Magusa, via Mersin 10, Turkey.


Problem Statement: Due to the impact of globalization and technological innovations, internationalization has attained importance in educational systems and parallel to this progress professional development has gained a vital role. Internationalization serves to bring a global aspect to dimensions of higher education, particularly to appreciation for quality in teaching where the role of faculty members cannot be neglected. Faculty members are the ones who prepare suitable teaching and learning environments starting from curriculum work and extending to student support and guidance. Hence, they have to develop themselves by improving their professional skills in teaching and learning. Adult learning theories suggest that faculty members’ needs should be taken into consideration for efficient faculty development. Therefore, identifying faculty needs for professional development is essential.

Purpose of the study: This study seeks to assess faculty members’ needs for professional development in teaching and learning. Needs of the faculty members in Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), an international university in North Cyprus, were assessed. The results were compared with other international universities for the purpose of providing a broad view of faculty needs.

Method: This is a quantitative study where faculty needs in teaching and learning were investigated by administering a survey instrument which was developed by the researchers. Data collected were analyzed to find answers to the following research questions for the study: 1) How are the perceived needs of the faculty members in EMU for professional development in teaching and learning? 2) How do the facult needs in EMU compare with the needs of faculty members in other universities?

Findings and Results: The needs for professional development in teaching for higher order skills, using instructional technology, and motivating students have emerged as highly-regarded. Needs seem not have changed very much since late 1990s. This study confirmed that most of the perceived developmental needs are similar among the faculty members in various countries.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Through its findings, this study shows that faculty members give a great emphasis to professional development in teaching and learning. Specifically, they stressed the need for development in skills for teaching competencies such as supporting students with learning disabilities, teaching students how to learn, and developing higher order skills. Furthermore, they perceived the need for development in preparing effective teaching materials and developing a web site for their courses.

Keywords: Faculty development, professional development, higher education, internationalization, teaching and learning, needs assessment.