Professional Development


Professional Development Plan for Faculty Members, Professional Staff Member and Administrative Officers


A professional development plan documents the goals, required skill and competency development, and objectives a faculty member, professional staff member or administrative officer will need to accomplish in order to support continuous improvement and career development.  A professional development plan is created by the manager working closely with the employee to identify the necessary skills and resources to support the employee’s career goals and the University’s needs.


Professional development begins when a new faculty member, professional staff member or administrative officer joins the University.  Planning should not take place only after an employee is identified as needing improvement. Professional development plans should be reviewed at least once a year between the employee and supervisor prior to the end of the yearly performance review period.



Professional Development Planning Steps:

Use the following steps to create a professional development plan with your employee.

Step One: Request a self-assessment from the employee

Have the employee complete a self-assessment of their interests, skills, values, and personality. Use the sample self-assessment form. When evaluating the employee’s responses, keep these questions in mind:


  1. What skills, career opportunities, technologies interest the individual?
  2. Do those skills/interests/goals support the organization’s needs and goals?
  3. What are the short and long term steps to get there?


Step Two: Develop your assessment of the individual’s skill level

Based on the employee’s self-assessment, their work record, and your own observations, determine the employee’s skill level in the following categories:


Technical skills – skills needed to get the job done.

Social skills – how do they work with others?

Aptitudes – natural talents; special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things.

Attitude – outlook, feelings, mind-set, way of thinking, and point of view.


Step Three: Assess the department and organization’s needs

In order for professional development to be successful, the employee’s needs and interests must be applied to address organizational objectives. The employee’s career path must align with the organization’s workforce needs. In creating a professional development plan, consider the following goals:


University goals

Unit goals

Individual goals


Step Four: Explore development opportunities with the employee

Explore the professional development opportunities available with your employee. Some examples include:

Conferences – Academic conferences for faculty members or professional conferences for professional staff and administrative officers.

New Projects & Responsibilities – Explore what new projects and responsibilities the employee can assist with. Employees can use such opportunities to develop new skills such as public speaking, presentations, web design and project management.

Workshops & Seminars – There are a wide variety of on-line and in person workshops and seminars that can help an employee develop their work and skills

Volunteer Opportunities – Volunteer opportunities can present a unique way for an employee to develop certain professional skills.

Mentorship – Interested employees can be paired with mentors for a variety of activities including teaching pedagogy, research methods, information interviews, shadowing, tutorials, etc.


Step Five: Record and analyze the staff member’s progress

Collect feedback from the employee about their development progress to assist in identifying what the employee is doing well, build on their skills, correct any problems that may arise, and help them develop new abilities that will improve personal performance as well as organizational outcomes.


Use a Performance Log for tracking, recording and providing feedback from the employee. Record dates, events, expectations, and the impact of action steps on their development. Make sure to record:


  1. Observations of enhanced skills or knowledge and how they were applied.
  2. Progress towards goals and objectives.
  3. Observations where skills or knowledge could be applied – use for future discussion.