How evaluation processes affect the professional development of five teachers in higher education

Leah Shagrir

Abstract


This paper presents research that investigates the nature of the connection between the professional development of five teachers in higher education and the evaluation processes they have to undergo. Since teaching, scholarship, and service are the three components that evaluation measures, this research examines how the teachers’ professional development was reflected in these components, and how they viewed the connection between their professional activities and the evaluation process. One conclusion states that while the  evaluation process is intimidating and taxing, it develops the skills for the teaching component. The contribution stems principally from a mentoring channel, which enables teachers to receive counseling and guidance from experienced veteran colleagues. Mentoring encourages the teachers and prompts them to seek advice, study, scrutinize their work methods, and improve the quality of their teaching. Another conclusion reveals that during the first years of work in higher education, evaluation was not found to influence activity in the scholarship and service components. The evaluation requirements notwithstanding, the extent of the activity in these components was limited and non-intensive as a result of the teachers’ focus on teaching. Professional development deepens and expands as seniority increases and confidence in one’s teaching abilities grow. Despite the limited scale of the study, the research conclusions may serve as recommendations for institutions of higher education to consider providing a mentoring channel for the teachers who are in their first years of academic work. Furthermore, institutions should demonstrate flexibility vis-à-vis the extent and depth of such individuals’ activity in scholarship and services when evaluating them. Another recommendation is to encourage institutions to take into account the advantages of veteran teachers, and the fact that professional activities deepen and expand as seniority increases.

Keywords


higher education; scholarship; professional development; evaluation process

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