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Exploring Good Teaching Practices and Needs for Improvement: Implications for Staff Development

Anna Serbati, Debora Aquario, Lorenza Da Re, Omar Paccagnella, Ettore Felisatti


The article presents the results of a study that mapped academics’ teaching excellences, needs and areas for improvement to tailor educational staff development initiatives. Academics from seven Italian universities (Bari, Camerino, Catania, Florence, Foggia, Genoa, Turin) completed a survey that included three open-ended questions, aimed at exploring innovative practices, critical aspects and types of desired support. The study involved 7.278 professors who received the survey; 4.289 completed the main questionnaire, with a response rate of about 59%. Academics’ answers were analyzed by content analysis through the software Atlas.ti. For each question, results offer a wide picture of main elements mentioned by respondents. This experience represents an integrated systemic initiative using research to inform practices, promoting a shared culture of teaching and learning in higher education, that is critical for the vitality of the academic environment, as well as a scholarly approach aimed at valuing teaching and identifying tailored strategies to improve it. In fact, content analysis allowed researchers to design a multi-level action plan, taking into account three different stages: an institutional level, an inter-institutional one, and a national one.


Content analysis; Higher education; Staff development; Teaching excellences; Teaching needs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2020-021-serb

Copyright (©) 2020 Anna Serbati, Debora Aquario, Lorenza Da Re, Omar Paccagnella, Ettore Felisatti – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Giuditta Alessandrini - Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi