How One Institution Makes Faculty Development Exciting While Keeping Costs Down

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by Lisa Cook, Academic Impressions


With minimal budget for faculty development, McKendree University has taken a unique approach to:

  • Making faculty development more engaging and fun for faculty
  • Taking a just-in-time approach to faculty development
  • More effective timing for delivering faculty development

Here is the story of what McKendree University has tried and what is working.

At McKendree University, the idea to attach a theme to a week of faculty development activities was initially a bit of a fluke according to Tami Eggleston, associate dean for institutional effectiveness and professor of psychology. She was preparing for a series of professional development workshops offered in conjunction with provost Christine Bahr after classes ended in May, and they decided to decorate the conference room. She bought some beach balls and sand buckets as decorations, and faculty liked it enough that they specifically mentioned it in their post-workshop evaluations.

Since then, the university has raised the bar each year to keep faculty development engaging and fun while also addressing specific themes to improve teaching. We talked with Eggleston to learn more about how McKendree spices up their development activities on a small budget -- and why she advocates for May as the perfect time to tackle faculty development.

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