Let’s take a moment to talk professional development.
What do you think of when you think of professional development?
I used to be one who felt that professional development was all about what I wanted to experience and how I wanted to grow as a professional and sharpen my craft. I also used to feel these experiences were approximately half new knowledge and half networking. Now that I have made a few laps around the proverbial track, I am starting to look at professional development through a different lens.
First and foremost, professional development is about the growth and development of your organization so that the organization is better able to meet the needs of the students and achieve organizational goals…not solely you.
If your department is moving in a new direction or has clear goals for the future, your professional development needs to be focused on moving the organization in that direction. The organization can have a larger impact on the lives of students than one singular person.
Secondly, professional development does not equal conference attendance.
What meetings have you been requested to sit in for your supervisor? How did that experience help you grow?
What committees have you served on? How has that experience shaped how you view your work now?
What networking opportunities have you taken advantage of and how will those interactions assist your organization is achieving its goals?
What have you written and published? How have you contributed to the literature?
What have you read both in your field and outside your field to help broaden your understanding and perspective? How you can you apply those readings to your work?
Finally, there are experiences that are valuable for individual development. In shifting our overall mindset to serving the organization and helping it to achieve goals related to student success, you will professionally develop far beyond any one conference experience. However, “you” should not be the only goal of development.
By modifying your focus from the individual to the good of the whole, we all succeed and most importantly, so do the students we serve.