Professional Development

Definition & Criteria

At Prince Sultan University we have been developing our own professional development scheme that allows for professional learning, educators gaining new knowledge, skills, and ideas that allow them to best meet students’ learning needs. Faculty members at PSU should be active members of their professional growth. This means that they need to be engaged in continuous improvement via their professional learning experiences. The following are the recommended schemes to help build the infrastructure for providing an environment that supports continuous improvement for professional learning, not just development. Establishing this infrastructure will help us to better serve and support students’ learning needs.

These are only examples and are not limited to what is recommended below:
Note Any type professional development could be a conference, a workshop, a lecture, mentoring, professional association activity, community service involvement, consultations, peer review, etc… as stipulated in the definition below)

Language Instructors
Teaching Assistants
Administrative Staff
Minimum Number of participation hours of professional development within one academic year.
( *Or attends two full-day events)

Professional Development Full Definition

Type of professional development: workshop, seminar, lecture, presentation, course, certifications, mentoring, peer review, consultations, etc...
Mode of professional development: Online or face to face.

Note: it is highly encouraged for faculty members to have exposure to multiple types of activities for their professional development and growth. Each member of PSU is responsible for their continued professional development.

Both the state of Ohio's Standards for Professional Development and the Learning Forward website have emphasized that "professional development is often used in place of professional development." As the Learning Forward website states, this decision “signals the importance of educators taking an active role in their continuous improvement and places emphasis on the learning.” This document has been developed as the first step in trying to create and establish a culture of professional learning communities.
The goal of establishing a clear Professional Development definition is to create communities of learning amongst the faculty and administrative staff members at PSU. The types of activities used for the continuous improvement of learning are key to helping all members to grow. Certain factors should be considered to achieve these goals:

  • Focus on the day-to-day work of educators (HE issues and related to the actual practice of the person involved).
  • Be content-specific and individualized.
  • Make use of internal expertise.
  • Be delivered in varied modes, including through online opportunities, face to face events, learning communities or course groups.
  • Focus on the implementation of new approaches.
  • Include an evaluation of providers and participants.
  • Focus on sustaining change over time, supported by continuous feedback via attending one or multiple sessions, with a long-term focus on development.

(adapted from Ohio Department of Education’s Quick Reference Guide for Ohio’s Standards for Professional Development)

Professional Development Types

Professional Development opportunities are an integral part of the university and Ministry of Education (MOE) strategies for providing educators (including teachers, academic leaders, administrative staff and leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, external experts) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging academic standards mandated from the MOE and the current job market demands; and is a part of a continuous improvement cycle that may include activities like:

Academic Conference:

“a formal meeting of people with a shared interest, typically one that takes place over several days.” Or “an academic conference is a conference for researchers (not always academics) to present and discuss their work. Along with academic or scientific journals, conferences provide an important channel for the exchange of information among experts.” Conference and symposium are similar events where speakers come together and give their opinions on a chosen subject. Symposium can be described as a smaller conference that gets over in a single day with a lesser number of delegates


“is a form of academic instruction, either at a university or offered by a commercial or professional organization. It has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject.” Or a class at a university in which a topic is discussed by a teacher and a small group of students.


“a meeting at which a group of people engages in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project” with a minimum duration of 2 hours. A Workshop includes all the elements of the Seminar, but with the largest portion being emphasized on “hand-on-practice” or laboratory work.


conducted by high ranking officials or decision makers who seek for ideal goals, mission, and or objectives.


“an educational talk to an audience, especially one of the students in a university.”


“a speech or talk in which a new product, idea, or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience.” The presentation will usually include specific results from studies already done. Lectures are generally broader than presentations.


“a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged in round table discussion”.

Member of a Panel:

“a panel discussion, or simply a panel, involves a group of people gathered to discuss a topic in front of an audience, typically at scientific, business or academic conferences, fan conventions, and on television shows.”


“The process of offering advice or an opinion about something as requested by another person or entity.”

Peer Review:

a process, document, or observation is evaluated by an expert or group of experts in a specific field to ascertain if it meets a set of standards. For example final exam peer review, NCAAA mock review, journal and conference papers review etc..


“modern-day mentoring is a process whereby both mentor and mentee work together to discover and develop the mentees’ abilities.” (Please refer to the mentoring initiative document for full details of this definition.)

Professional Association Activity:

“a body of persons engaged in the same profession, formed usually to control entry into the profession, maintain standards, and represent the profession in discussions with other bodies.” They provide ample opportunity for professional development for members.

Evidence & Policy Of Completion & Coverage

Note Hours cannot be counted against more than one activity.
For faculty members, it is recommended that faculty maintain a log of their activities using the
online faculty portal system
An activity cannot be counted against more than one category. Where an activity is relevant to more than one category, record it for one only.

Type of PD How to count the PD
The professional workshop, conference, summit, seminar, forum number of hours spent attending include date and certificate of attendance
Presentation at a conference or at PSU including TLC, ELC, lecture, etc… number of hours spent preparing and attending include date(s), presentation, and certificate of attendance
Online education-related classes and webinars number of hours spent listening/participating include date and certificate of attending if provided or some other documentation of the online activity
Peer review number of hours spent in peer review include the form used for documenting the record of activities
Mentoring: research, new faculty, junior faculty, or students number of hours spent mentoring
Professional Training number of hours spent in training
Serving on a board of a professional association number of hours spent in board meetings
Consultation service number of hours spent in consultation