The University recently wrapped up some research into the perceptions of teaching and learning on campus. [The report](http://ucalgary.ca/provost/files/provost/ILTPresearchreport.PDF) includes this gem, aimed squarely at the department I’ve been a part of for nearly a decade:
>There were polarised views about the centralised professional development centre. These ranged from overt appreciation for their work and views that they supplied an essential service to faculty members, to criticism of the lack of specificity of topics, lack of flexibility in timing of courses, and concerns with the overriding emphasis on technology-facilitated learning. Undertaking professional development was reported as not rewarded or recognised in the university.
That doesn’t sound polarised to me – it sounds like faculty members think we perform a pretty important job, but are severely resource-constrained.
The “centralised professional development centre” has faced effective budget cuts every year of its existence. We have lost half of our staff over the years through layoffs and attrition. We’ve been told not to use the photocopier to keep costs down. We’ve seen the (soon to be retiring) Provost set up special projects that duplicate our services, funneling resources there rather than to the central professional development centre where they could benefit more than a handful of lucky chosen profs. We have to focus what we do in ways that can best help faculty who are under resource constraints of their own – leading to the emphasis on technology-facilitated learning.
I don’t see how we could possibly be doing any better, given the context we’re in.