Indiana State professors co-edit professional development handbook

April 18, 2014

Two faculty members from Indiana State University's Bayh College of Education have partnered with educators from two other universities in producing a new book to help providers of professional development.

The Handbook of Professional Development in Education: Successful Models and Practices, PreK-12, scheduled for release this spring, is the result of a partnership involving Diana Quatroche and Kathryn Bauserman from Indiana State, Linda Martin from Ball State University and Sherry Kragler at the University of South Florida.

"At a conference in Salt Lake City several years ago, we began a conversation about the importance of effective and sustained professional development," said Quatroche, professor and department chair of elementary, early and special education. "It was suggested we should write a book and Martin, who had a sabbatical scheduled, started researching notable experts in the field of professional development. We sent an inquiry to Guilford Press who expressed a strong interest in a book on the topic of professional development and encouraged us to submit a full proposal."

The nearly 600-page, 25-chapter book will be available in hardback and features 43 notable education professionals who are considered experts in various areas of professional development. Case studies featuring schools with model professional development programs are also included. Andy Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and an internationally recognized expert in the field of professional development, authored the foreword to the book.

The book is organized into four sections: Professional Development Past and Present; The Complexity of Professional Development in Today's Schools; Developing Solutions for Effective Professional Development; and Pulling it Together which includes guidelines for measuring and sustaining effective professional development programs.

The appendix includes eight international and national models of successful and sustained professional development in different types of school settings. Bullet points highlight the main features of each chapter along with follow-up questions focused on different audiences, for example classroom teachers, district leaders and policymakers.

Quatroche and Bauserman feel the book is an excellent collection of the theory behind professional development, what quality professional development is with examples, and how to make sure the professional development is effective and sustained.

It was developed to be used in multiple settings: in university classes; for providers of professional development; or by school corporations and it should appeal to a large audience, as it is a handbook on a comprehensive range of topics.

Quatroche and Bauserman have been providing K-12 schools in the state with professional development through grants from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, which has given them insight into the professional development methods that work for classroom teachers, including continuous follow-up to help teachers implement the new ideas and involving teachers in decision making regarding the type of professional development that fits their needs.

Bauserman, associate professor of elementary, early, and special education, said it was self-affirming to watch the book evolve from an idea into a finished product during the last two years.

"It was really a dream we had four or five years ago and it was a miracle that it was accepted as quickly as it was," she said. "We had done some recruitment of well-regarded people in the professional development field early in the process, so we had commitments which definitely strengthened the proposal. We chose people who were noteworthy in the field and who we knew had particular expertise in certain areas, such as effective professional development with early childhood or successful models with middle schools and high schools."

Quatroche came away from the experience with a new perspective on the professional development process.

"We have learned a lot about professional development from being engaged in this project," she said. "There is such a wide range of successful professional development projects, however as pointed out in the handbook, all of the various projects have common threads that make them successful and these common thread can inform new efforts."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or Betsy.Simon@indstate.edu