Michigan State University Instructional Development Needs Assessment:
In April 2005, the Office of Faculty and Organizational Development (F&OD) sent an Instructional Development Needs Assessment to faculty and administrators at Michigan State University. The purpose of this survey was to ascertain preferences for program topics, timing, format, and ways to contact people about future programs in order to better serve the MSU community.
The survey was posted online at the Faculty and Organizational Development website, and 2397 individuals received hard copy. In addition, emails were sent to all those who attended Faculty and Organizational Development programs in the past year, inviting them to fill out the survey online. F&OD received 156 completed surveys, primarily from faculty, a 6.5% return rate. These returns yielded a great deal of information useful for future planning. If you want to review the complete data set, please contact Patti Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 517 432-2033.
Below are the survey's 15 major categories; e.g., Classroom methods, Assessment, Preferred formats. Respondents could select as many items as they wished within each category.
In addition, dozens of comments were made, but these were wide-ranging and no themes or patterns were apparent.
Several patterns emerged from the total data. Respondents were interested in ways to involve students more actively in their own learning, such as having them work in small groups, using problem-based learning strategies, facilitating discussions, and designing activities, assignments, and projects, including writing and research assignments. They also wanted to learn ways to integrate technology, including the Internet, into their courses, and to develop course websites. Another focus was on methods for reaching students more effectively: motivating students, understanding their learning styles, teaching them how to become better learners, engaging them in critical thinking, dealing with difficult students, mentoring graduate students. In addition, respondents were interested in learning how to grade more effectively and efficiently. Preferences for workshop format, starting time, and length were explicit: respondents wanted sessions that would present material but also involve them in interactive work and discussions, preferred either an 8 a.m., 9 a.m., or 1 p.m. starting time, and programs from 1 1/2 to 2 hours in length. Email was overwhelmingly the preferred method for contacting people about programs.
The Office of Faculty and Organizational Development will draw on these results in their planning for future programs. Programs based on these findings will be marked in the brochure.
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. Your input was invaluable.
Prepared by Lois M. Rosen, Ph.D.