Facilitated Multi-Source Feedback – A new model for professional development of academic staff

Mette Krogh Christensen, Iris Maria Pedersen, Kamilla Pedersen, Diana Stentoft

8:30 – 12:00 (half-day morning workshop)

Maintaining and developing high quality in teaching plays a pivotal role in preparing higher educations for the future. For example, the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, recently published the report Higher Educations for the future stating that, to ensure high quality teaching, universities need to develop tools and strategies to appreciate teaching and research on an equal footing, and facilitate mandatory professional development for teachers at all career levels.

Most often, the measure of teaching performance and quality of teaching is based on student evaluations. However, such mono-source instruments are criticized for yielding limited insight into teachers’ actual performance and practices, and failing to support performance change. Thus, comprehensive, structured and formative approaches seem to be needed to appreciate teaching and support professional development of academic staff.

In related fields, such as medical education and management, multi-source feedback (MSF) is a validated and integrated component of professional development programs. MSF offers insights into how performance is experienced by multiple providers of feedback and provides a space for reflecting on this feedback. Furthermore, it supports identification of potentials for change, and the development of specific goals and strategies to accomplish them.

This workshop is based on an ongoing research project aiming at innovating a Facilitated Multi-Source Feedback (FMSF) model for higher education teachers and consequently renew the conceptualisation of professional development of teachers in higher education. The FMSF-model is characterized by a two-fold feedback structure with two main elements:

  • A questionnaire: multiple categories of feedback-providers fill out a questionnaire that rates a wide range of pedagogical competencies of the feedback-recipient, and
  • A facilitating dialogue: the feedback-recipient meets with a certified feedback-facilitator in a facilitating dialogue that aims to convey the mean scores of the ratings, aid reflection, stimulate professional development and support potentials for change.

Aim and content of the workshop: The aim is to facilitate participants’ reflections about potentials and barriers in relation to applying a FMSF model in their own context, and to produce a take-home framework for a FMSF-model in participants’ own context. First, we present the FMSF-model from Aarhus University and the foundational theoretical framework for the model, including the Pedagogical Competence Profile from the University of Copenhagen which may serve as a research-based standard for good teaching. Then, the workshop activities addresses the potentials and barriers of facilitated multi-source feedback as part of professional development of higher education teachers.