Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Monica W. Tracey


Because the field of educational development (also known as faculty development, academic development, and staff development) is relatively new, very little is known about the competencies required for those who work in the field. Additionally, there are no formal pathways or means of formal preparation for educational developers. This study utilized a mixed-methods research design to explore the competencies required for a leadership role in the field of educational development.

The first part of the study sought to identify these competencies by using the Delphi technique to survey experts in the field. The second part explored whether these competencies were currently represented through content analysis of job postings for educational development leaders. Twenty-two (22) experts from the field of educational development in the United States were selected using purposive sampling and snowball technique. Participants engaged in four rounds of questionnaires during the Delphi survey and generated 66 knowledge, skills, abilities and values required for an educational development leadership position. The expert panel did not agree that 7 of these items belonged on the competency list. An analysis of job postings for educational development leaders revealed an additional 8 competencies not identified in the Delphi study.

Analysis and further refinement of these competencies generated during the Delphi survey and content analysis of job postings resulted in 10 areas of knowledge, grouped into four categories: classroom or disciplinary-based knowledge, educational and instructional knowledge, organizational knowledge, and higher education system knowledge. Nineteen (19) skills or abilities were also identified and grouped into five categories: administrative duties, educational development services, enhancing organizational culture around teaching and learning, professional and scholarly development, and individual and soft skills. Eleven (11) values also emerged.

The research from this study indicates that there is indeed, a formal body of knowledge attributable to the field of educational development, as well as a distinct set of skills and abilities required for successful developers. Better understanding these will help further professionalize the field of educational development and create a formal pathway or means of preparation for those seeking to enter the field.