This thesis is a qualitative research study examining views of faculty at Brigham Young University regarding professional development at the university level. Subjects who participated in the study were selected based on being full-time, part-time, adjunct, tenured, and non-tenured professors at Brigham Young University. Instructors who work solely with online students were not included. The contacts also did not include student teachers, support staff, non-teaching faculty or graduate students.The key findings from the qualitative research study report that faculty differentiate between two categories of professional development, one concerned with teaching and other aspects of working at a university, and the other is the development and continuing training in their original field or specialty. Additionally, the research shows that while time is the most commonly cited reason for not attending professional development, it is possible to potentially offer incentives to overcome that barrier to attendance. Professional development activities that are created in an informal manner and are more localized to smaller units within the university-a college, a department, even a subset of a department-seem to be more meaningful to faculty than traditional formally organized professional development by the university. The overall conclusion from this qualitative research study is that professional development activities should be more flexible and adaptive to the maturation of needs of the intended participants. The current initial professional development at Brigham Young University is viewed positively as being very helpful; however, the longer faculty stay at the university the more they seek out informal professional development focused on specific issues for which they are not finding assistance. The implication of this study is when universities focus on initial professional development for new faculty often professional development opportunities for mid-career faculty are not emphasized or arranged. Ways to address this gap may include specifically labeling activities like seminars as professional development and then increasing resources devoted to them or giving faculty an allowance per person per year and allowing them to choose how to invest that allowance-either in more training within the teaching profession or within their specific discipline.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology

Date Submitted


Document Type





professional development, Brigham Young University, qualitative research