Professional Development and Moral Reasoning in Higher Education Graduate Programs

Pamela Felder, Kimberly A Kline, Debra Harmening, Tami Moore, Edward P. St. John
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 14  •  2019  •  pp. 383-401

This work examines the role of professional development in higher education graduate programs through the use of reflective teaching approaches. We discuss the relevance of a professional development framework in supporting the exploration of moral reasoning in addressing challenges in the higher education profession.

Shifts in demographics within college university environments has resulted in increased diversity among students facilitating the need for professional development experiences that involve moral reasoning and self-reflection as resources to increase cultural awareness.

Case study overviews of higher education courses focused on supporting the development of graduate students’ professional interest illustrate ways moral reasoning can be examined to facilitate self-awareness as a professional skill and competency. Four teaching strategies reflect how professional learning can be used to shape students’ experiences, knowledge of critical issues, and understanding of organizational development in higher education.

This paper contributes to the knowledge of professional development in higher education graduate programs and the experiences faculty and graduate students.

Strategies discussed provide a basis for further research to examine the role of professional learning framework in developing effective pedagogical strategies that facilitate moral reasoning, social justice, democratic values, and diversity. Previous research on the experiences of graduate students has not explicitly discussed the proposed professional learning framework across graduate student experiences.

Administrators responsible for managing higher education graduate programs may find this work useful for understanding how moral reasoning can be used as tool for teaching professional development in graduate programs.

Researchers of professional development within graduate programs may find the use of moral reasoning helpful in understanding strategies that support facilitating discussions of critical issues related to cultural awareness.

Moral reasoning is an effective resource for building the professional insight and awareness needed for understanding multiple experiences in the workplace.

Additional research is needed to understand how moral reasoning could be used to support the professional development of higher education graduate students.

professional development, graduate programs, moral reasoning, racial and cultural awareness
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