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J Dent Educ. 2010 Nov;74(11):1245-54.

Observation and assessment of faculty development learning outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Educational Administration and Policy, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, 8511 SW 7 Place, Gainesville, FL 32607, USA.


Prior research has found that participation in course offerings provides a means of professional development and results in changes to faculty beliefs and instructional practices. However, as with most professional development initiatives in education, little is known about the sustainability of these training efforts. The research question that guided this study was the following: Do professional development efforts in teaching result in observed learning outcomes among faculty members? In this study, teaching observations served as the primary data source. Twelve faculty members (six in the College of Dentistry and six in the College of Health and Human Performance) who completed two six-week teaching seminars in fall 2006 and spring 2007 or spring 2008 and summer 2008 were asked to participate in a classroom observation and an interview lasting no longer than forty-five minutes. Six dental faculty members and three faculty members from the College of Health and Human Performance agreed to participate in the study. Three standardized reviewers conducted these classroom observations during fall 2008, spring 2009, and summer 2009. An active teaching rubric was used to evaluate the class transcripts. The findings revealed that participants somewhat frequently to frequently used questions that were open-ended or checked for comprehension. Seven of nine instructors made extensive efforts to engage the students interactively throughout the teaching session. Six of the participants infused the description of actual or hypothetical cases to illustrate the connections between teaching and patient care, while six utilized reflective practices. Findings from the interviews corroborated the observations. Overall, the findings showed that participants demonstrated the integration of those strategies that were taught during the seminars, which were consistent with teaching critical thinking skills and showed that the learning acquired during professional development initiatives was sustained.

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