Teaching, Learning, Equity, and Change: Realizing the Promise of Professional Learning

Created By:
Achieving the Dream (ATD) and the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) in partnership with Every Learner Everywhere

Research shows that professional learning (often called “faculty development”) has the potential to transform teaching and advance equity, learning and student success. Yet notable gaps in practice undercut its impact. This report, Teaching, Learning, Equity and Change: Realizing the Promise of Professional Learning, can inform the strategic action needed to realize the promise of professional learning at our nation’s equity-focused campuses.

Recent research demonstrates the effectiveness of professional learning in advancing equity-focused change in education. It also provides a clear picture of the best practices used by effective Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs). Yet key questions remain:

  • What is the status of professional learning on campuses serving most of the nation’s racially minoritized and poverty-affected students?
  • How do these institutions deploy professional learning to support equity-focused teaching and learning?
  • What does best practice look like? What obstacles and gaps in practice get in the way?
  • What kind of assistance would be helpful?

In 2022, a team of field practitioner leaders from Achieving the Dream and the Online Learning Consortium gathered data to explore these questions. We conducted a survey with nearly a hundred respondents – CTL directors and staff, as well as Provosts and other campus leaders. They represent Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), community colleges as well as research universities. We also interviewed 20 leaders, intentionally including those from campuses with exemplary CTLs. This report summarizes our findings and recommendations.