• Continuing Professional Development

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    OUR previous conversation was on blending two models in designing a continuing professional development plan (CPD) for faculty members particularly for those who are assigned to the higher education levels. These two models are the developmental vertical model which divides the tenure of faculty members into three stages, the novice, the newly experienced and the experienced experience. The last stage has been refined by one expert to extend the stage to another phase – renewal where a faculty member shifts his/her interest to another area which he/she carries over after exiting/retiring from the institution.

    We illustrated the content of CPD anchored on a blended application of the developmental vertical model of stages in a teacher’s career with the holistic horizontal model which presents three dimensions of needs at any career stage. We offered illustrations of the content of CPD particularly for those newly inducted into the institution related to their organizational dimension needs and those drawn from the professional dimension.

    We stress that the professional dimension of the model is designed to enhance competence of faculty members in their primary role, whether they are assigned to teaching, research, community outreach/extension or civic engagement activities or, administration or a combination of these functions. Faculty members assigned to administer academic units consequently need CPD in aspects of academic administration. One such aspect would be budget preparation, management and outsourcing. For those with potential in community service and similar community-related assignments, CPD in their areas of responsibility could open opportunities for them to benchmark and eventually provide the institution with creative ways to meaningfully and productively extend the expertise of the institution to the institution’s service areas. The by-product of these engagements is heightened visibility of their respective departments and institutions.

    Since the academic and social intent of community extension/outreach is for an educational institution to extend its expertise to its catchment communities, there are two known modes of outreach. The traditional and common mode is extra-curricular outreach where the direct beneficiaries are only the communities served by the outreach program. Any benefit to students may be a special interest unrelated to their degree program. The other mode is better known as service learning. It “combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility” attached to a particular academic major or field of study. Such programs “involve students in organized community service that address local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community, benefitting both the students and the community served. Another name for this kind of community extension/outreach is civic engagement. Our source defines the purpose of civic engagement as “to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.” http://www. servicelearning. msu.edu/faculty/what-is-service-learning-and-civic-engagement. Corresponding CPD could be designed and implemented by institutions to beef up the varieties of community outreach as an area in the professional role of faculty members.

    The third professional function of faculty members is research. It is in this area that much CPD is needed in most institutions. There are in-built problems where research is concerned, such as lack of research funds and the phenomenon of teaching overloads leaving inadequate time for honest-to-goodness research. Another is the absence of a research agenda and the non-tradition in institutions to partner with appropriate research collaborators. A defined research agenda that matches institutional competence and donor priorities has more chances of being able to outsource research funds. Hence, seminar-workshops in writing funding proposals address a CPD need.

    In the UK, there is an association of University researchers with industry links (AURIL). In Japan, as early as the 1960’s, faculty members have close research ties with various companies. For instance, a research on the fluids in mollusks for possible application as muscle relaxant was sponsored by a drug company. Another research, the breaking down of proteins of refrigerated foods, was sponsored by a food company. These were my observations whilst on summer studies at Sophia University, Tokyo in the late 60’s. These collaborations are in themselves modalities of CPD ensuring development not only professionally but also widening their social capitals. Other modes could be sending them for research centres secondments/detail, faculty exchange, benchmarking, and symposia.

    Finally, we apply the personal dimension of the holistic horizontal model to CPD. This dimension is designed to enhance the self-concept of staff. The methods for CPD draw from projective techniques that will enable staff to become aware of their assets and liabilities, that is, strengths and weaknesses. These are reflection exercises that draw the mind to look inward, an introspection of the academic and personal conscience — intended to give meaning to the daily chores of their threefold functions. Personal meaning refers to how their lives are affected by their professional performance, whether in doing so, they find fulfillment of their aspirations and enhance their self-concept. On this dimension, CPD enhances the nurturance of rationality, of the affections and of the will. In brief, this dimension will have faculty members arrive at an understanding of what it is to be a human being, unique from all other individuals but who are united in a shared vision as members committed to their institution’s mission.

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    Teresita Tanhueco-Tumapon, PhD, is one of the Philippines most accomplished educators and experts on institutional management in colleges and universities. Her studies have included not only education and pedagogy but also literature.

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