Faculty Professional Development…and the New Instrumentality

Like many colleges and universities, our institution had its fall semester in-service recently. This one, for fall 2009, was entertaining and informative. Speakers and presenters covered contemporary topics (assessment, outcomes, mission synthesis, and communities) in an appropriate and, I would certainly say, helpful manner. Near the end of the morning’s agenda (you know, when the staff’s thoughts drift to the luncheon buffet and employee constituent group meetings), one of the speakers made a few remarks about emerging faculty professional development issues. She indicated faculty professional development activities (coursework, seminars, workshops)—both formal and informal—would have a more instrumental than liberal focus in the future. She explained how we (community college teachers) will be helping 21st-century students develop transferable intellectual processing skills rather than bringing them to moments of, shall we say, old-time liberal arts “awareness.”

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