Date of this Version
A 1975 ETS survey by John Centra reported that close to 60 percent of the 2600 degree granting institutions of higher education in the United States had some type of staff development program or someone who coordinated staff development activities (Centra, 1976). As the decade of the 80's begins, there are no indications that staff development has experienced the loss of momentum so characteristic of other innovative ventures in higher education; rather, the interest in the development of staff is continuing to grow. Evidence of this trend include the formation of two national organizations, the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education and the more recently organized National Council for Staff, Program, and Organizational Development of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges; the exponential increase in the number of publications and conferences on the topic; and the establishment of two university directed institutes for professional development, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development at the University of Texas and Memphis State University's Institute for Academic Improvement.
A partial explanation for the current acceptance of staff development is its underlying assumption that improvements in the professional and personal lives of staff will lead to more effective and efficient operation of the institutions in which they work. Past deficiencies in pre-service preparation and gross neglect of in-service education, coupled with the pressures of a "steady state" environment and new demands for accountability, have also contributed to providing an unusually receptive environment for staff development by trustees, administrators, and faculty.