Faculty Development in Japan: Key Factors With Ramifications on the Work of Faculty Developers

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2021)
Title: Faculty Development in Japan: Key Factors With Ramifications on the Work of Faculty Developers
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Gabriel Hervas, The University of Tokyo, Japan


Faculty development (FD) in Japan is tied to governmental decisions. Whereas, during the 1990s, FD was discussed and introduced in national standards and recommendations for universities, it was not until later, during the 2000s, that it began to receive funding and, in 2007, that it became a mandatory practice for universities. After that, in 2019, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan (MEXT) issued a strong recommendation instating Higher Education (HE) institutions to offer pre-faculty development programs (also known as future faculty or preparatory development programs). This paper contextualizes FD at Japanese universities and offers a qualitative analysis of key factors with ramifications on the work of those in charge of designing and implementing FD initiatives (faculty developers). Through an ethnographic approach, data was collected during a nine-months stay in Japan using documental analysis, observation of new and future faculty programs, and interviewing faculty developers working at seven Japanese universities. Results are discussed and reveal six dimensions (with different subdimensions) that offer an image of FD in Japan, specifically, in relation with different aspects that impact the work of faculty developers and with topics of interest and concern for them: the government mandates, the units/centers in charge of FD, the figure of the faculty developer, the participants in FD, the FD programs, and FD trends and practices. These results offer visibility to the work and concerns of faculty developers in Japan and can be compared with those of their peers at other contexts.

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