Does faculty development enhance teaching effectiveness?J Dent Educ. 2007 Dec; 71(12):1513-33.JD
Academic dentists and members of the practice community have been hearing, for more than a decade, that our educational system is in trouble and that the profession has lost its vision and may be wavering in the achievement of its goals. A core of consistently recommended reforms has framed the discussion of future directions for dental education, but as yet, most schools report little movement toward implementation of these reforms in spite of persistent advocacy. Provision of faculty development related to teaching and assessment strategies is widely perceived to be the essential ingredient in efforts to introduce new curricular approaches and modify the educational environment in academic dentistry. Analyses of the outcomes of efforts to revise health professions curricula have identified the availability and effectiveness of faculty development as a predictor of the success or failure of reform initiatives. This article will address faculty development for purposes of enhancing teaching effectiveness and preparing instructors for potential new roles associated with curriculum changes. Its overall purpose is to provide information and insights about faculty development that may be useful to dental schools in designing professional growth opportunities for their faculty. Seven questions are addressed: 1) What is faculty development? 2) How is faculty development accomplished? 3) Why is faculty development particularly important in dental education? 4) What happens when faculty development does not accompany educational reform? 5) Why are teaching attitudes and behaviors so difficult to change? 6) What outcomes can be expected from faculty development? and 7) What does the available evidence tell us about the design of faculty development programs? Evidence from systematic reviews pertaining to the teaching of evidence-based dentistry, strategies for continuing professional education, and the Best Evidence in Medical Education review of faculty development outcomes are presented to answer this question: does faculty development enhance teaching effectiveness? Characteristics consistently associated with effective faculty development are described.