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Higher Ed Impact

The State of Professional Development in Higher Education: February 2016





Download a printer-friendly, PDF version of the report.

Professional development is a strategic asset to an institution, as it is a key engine for increasing the capacity of your team and for bringing in proven strategies from other organizations—allowing you to both avoid “reinventing the wheel” and to revitalize your work with fresh ideas.

In late 2015, we surveyed 971 managers and frontline faculty and staff at colleges and universities, both to score this year's investment in professional development against last year's, and to uncover new findings and emerging stories of what teams that are leveraging professional development (PD) to move their institutions forward are doing differently—and what you can learn from them. 

In this report on our second annual survey, we will present:

  1. A year-over-year scorecard of 8 critical professional development (PD) metrics.
  2. Evidence that institutions need to raise the bar of what they expect from professional development.
  3. Two key findings that can help you maximize the return on your PD in 2016.
  4. A template for a written professional development plan.
  5. Ten tips for optimizing the return on a professional development event.

We hope you will enjoy this complimentary report and share it with your colleagues!

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About the Authors

Amit Mrig, President and CEO

Amit co-founded Academic Impressions in 2002 to provide research, publishing, and training on issues that directly impact the sustainability of higher education. Under his direction, AI has published hundreds of articles and papers, interactive training programs, and topical and timely webcasts, serving over 50,000 academic and administrative leaders across 3,500 colleges and universities.

Amit leads and manages AI’s research, programming, and publications on higher ed leadership development. Many of AI’s research and thought leadership papers have been authored by Amit, including The Other Higher Ed Bubble, Small but Mighty: 4 Small Colleges Thriving in a Disruptive Environment, General Education Reform: Unseen Opportunities, and Meeting the Challenge of Program Prioritization.

Amit has consulted with dozens of higher ed leaders, cabinet members, and board members—discussing current challenges and practical solutions while helping to identify which issues they can address to best impact change at their institution. Amit is a frequent contributor to Forbes, discussing issues in higher education. He also serves as an active board member of The Challenge Foundation, an organization helping low-income students successfully earn a college degree.

Daniel Fusch, Director of Publications & Research

Daniel provides strategic direction and content for AI’s electronic publication Higher Ed Impact, including market research and interviews with leading subject matter experts on critical issues. Since the publication’s launch in 2009, Daniel has written or edited more than 500 articles on strategic issues ranging from student recruitment and retention to development and capital planning. If you have a question or a comment about this article, feel free to contact Daniel at