The Governor's Teaching Fellows
MetadataShow full item record
Higher education’s greatest resource is its faculty and staff. Describing, documenting, and understanding successful faculty development programs like the Governor’s Teaching Fellows (GTF) is important to all academic institutions that are competing in today’s higher education environment. Successful faculty development programs have the ability to enhance individual and institutional reputations. According to the literature, some administrators believed that scholarly expertise not only leads to institutional excellence but that is equated with teaching excellence. However, the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty indicated that this belief was unfounded. Because excellence in research scholarship does not equate to teaching excellence, enhancing the teaching skills of faculty members is an important avenue for institutional advancement. The Governor’s Teaching Fellows is one inclusive statewide faculty development program that focuses on the instructional enhancement of Georgia’s entire higher education faculty (i.e., public and private, two- and four-year liberal arts, research, professional, and, technical institutions). This study investigates the experiences of 19 alumni, two planners, one former director, and the current director through interviews, observation, and the archived papers as well as GTF’s archived papers and database. It describes GTF’s background, structure, design, content, participants, and benefits. It also identifies two areas of faculty development that could be investigated further: the ripple effect and collegiality and fellowship. The findings from this study support the faculty development principles that were described and discussed in the faculty development literature. They add to the literature by describing an inclusive statewide faculty development program that appeared not to be replicated in any other state. This study also identifies and discusses several essential characteristics that explain the impact the program had on the participants and made GTF what it is. One implied characteristic stood out: the love of teaching. By understanding GTF and the meaning that the participants gave to the experience, faculty development planners could adopt or adapt GTF’s characteristics and possibly create a national community of practice dedicated to teaching excellence and the scholarship of teaching.