The goals of this study were three-fold: to explore the reasons why some clinical teachers regularly attend centralised faculty development activities; to compare their responses with those of colleagues who do not attend, and to learn how we can make faculty development programmes more pertinent to teachers' needs.
In 2008-2009, we conducted focus groups with 23 clinical teachers who had participated in faculty development activities on a regular basis in order to ascertain their perceptions of faculty development, reasons for participation, and perceived barriers against involvement. Thematic analysis and research team consensus guided the data interpretation.
Reasons for regular participation included the perceptions that: faculty development enables personal and professional growth; learning and self-improvement are valued; workshop topics are viewed as relevant to teachers' needs; the opportunity to network with colleagues is appreciated, and initial positive experiences promote ongoing involvement. Barriers against participation mirrored those cited by non-attendees in an earlier study (e.g. volume of work, lack of time, logistical factors), but did not prevent participation. Suggestions for increasing participation included introducing a 'buddy system' for junior faculty members, an orientation workshop for new staff, and increased role-modelling and mentorship.
The conceptualisation of faculty development as a means to achieve specific objectives and the desire for relevant programming that addresses current needs (i.e., expectancies), together with an appreciation of learning, self-improvement and networking with colleagues (i.e., values), were highlighted as reasons for participation by regular attendees. Medical educators should consider these 'lessons learned' in the design and delivery of faculty development offerings. They should also continue to explore the notion of faculty development as a social practice and the application of motivational theories that include expectancy-value constructs to personal and professional development.