How can I engage others in professional development?

Getting started


  • What are the benefits of professional development?
  • How can I assist others to experience those benefits?

What is Continuing Professional Development?

A web search will yield many definitions of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). However, there is general agreement that CPD consists of formal and/or informal learning that leads to the enhancement of knowledge, skills and personal attributes necessary to carry out professional duties.

Professional development in teaching can:

  • be personally rewarding;
  • meet personal development needs;
  • improve professional practice;
  • lead to improvements in the student learning experience. In medical and health sciences education, an improved student learning experience can ultimately benefit patient; and
  • contribute to career progression.

Lorraine Stefani talks about the importance of professional development:

Click to play the video (requires Flash Player).

Engaging Others in Continuing Professional Development

You may take steps to engage others in professional development as part of your leadership role. For  example, if you have management responsibilities within the University or within the health sector you may make suggestions for professional teaching development of staff as part of performance management. If you have responsibility for a programme or course, you may initiate a professional development programme for staff responsible for teaching on that programme or course. These are both examples of formal CPD opportunities.

You may engage staff in informal CPD which might include involving teachers in curriculum working groups, educational projects, or through membership of teaching and learning committees. This will help teachers gain a wider appreciation of the overall educational process rather than simply focusing on 'classroom' teaching. You might also point a staff member to a role model within the Faculty, School or Department. A role model can provide informal advice to staff. An example of engaging others in professional development at this informal level would be mentoring junior colleagues and advising them on professional development opportunities.

Lorraine Stefani on engaging others in professional development:Click to view the video.

What's On Offer

If you are going to engage others in formal professional development, you are going to need to know about professional development opportunities at the University and within the FMHS.

If you are thinking about your own CPD, you might want to consider the CMHSE postgraduate qualifications in Medical Education (bullet point 2 above) as merit in continuing professional development might be evidenced through gaining additional teaching qualifications.

Measuring the Impact of CPD

Dr Thomas Guskey - CPD expert at the University of Kentucky - has suggested that there are three ways to evaluate the impact of CPD:

  • We might measure changes in beliefs and attitudes about teaching;
  • We might measure changes in educational practice;
  • We might measure changes in student learning e.g. improved learning outcomes.

The final measure would seem to be the most important; ultimately we want to know that CPD resulted in changes in student learning. This change might be an improvement in the student experience of learning. For example, students might report that they enjoyed learning more as a result of a change in teaching methods. This is important as we want students to enjoy their learning so that they have a passion for the subject and so that they leave university as life long learners. Change might also be measured in terms of improvements in student learning i.e. better outcomes. While it can be difficult to isolate improvements that resulted from a CPD activity, the attempt has to be made.

You will need an understanding of assessment theory to ensure that you have an effective way to determine if learning outcomes have improved.


Merit in Evaluation of Practice and Continuing Professional Development might be achieved through engaging departmental colleagues in continuing professional development and/or through gaining additional teaching qualifications. This page has provided you with some ideas about engaging others in continuing professional development. There are also links to opportunities for gaining further qualifications.

  • You may want to start an ePortfolio record to describe what you intend to do to stay up to date with teaching/learning/assessment. You can save the record and come back at any time to update it.
Achieving excellence in Evaluation of Practice and Continuing Professional Development might be achieved through taking the lead in the provision of continuing professional development. Distinction might be achieved through taking the lead in developing the scholarship of teaching and learning in others.

Taking it further

Desimone, L. M. (2009). Improving Impact Studies of Teachers' Professional Development: Toward Better Conceptualizations and Measures. Educational Researcher, 38(3), 181-199.

This article will likely be useful for managers wanting an understanding of how to measure the benefits of professional development. The author suggests that we apply recent research knowledge to improve our conceptualization, measures, and methodology for studying the effects of teachers’ professional development on teachers and students. She makes the case that there is a research consensus to support the use of a set of core features and a common conceptual framework in professional development impact studies. She urges us to move away from automatic biases either for or against observation, interviews, or surveys in such studies. She argues that the use of a common conceptual framework would elevate the quality of professional development studies and subsequently the general understanding of how best to shape and implement teacher learning opportunities for the maximum benefit of both teachers and students.
Knight, P. (2002). Being a Teacher in Higher Education. Buckingham: Oxford University Press.
This book draws extensively on research literature to give detailed advice about instruction, learning activities, assessment, planning and getting good evaluations. The book offers hundreds of practical suggestions. It can provide a useful base for thinking about areas of teaching performance where staff might need professional development.


Ramsden, P (2003). Learning to Teach in Higher Education (2nd Edition). Routledge.
This is a book about being an effective teacher in higher education. It can provide a useful base for understanding the professional development needs of teaching staff.

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How can I engage others in professional development?

“A teaching philosophy can help you to reflect on how and why you teach. If you don’t have a teaching philosophy, you might want to consider writing one. You can take a look at What makes a good teacher? to get started. If you already have a teaching philosophy, you might want to reflect on how the work that you are doing here fits with that philosophy”.