Lindsay B. Wheeler & Dorothe Bach (2021) are the winners of the IJAD 2021 Article of the Year Award for ‘Understanding the impact of educational development interventions on classroom instruction and student success’, International Journal for Academic Development, 26(1), 24-40, DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2020.1777555
This paper bravely ventures into the difficult territory of seeking quantifiable data on academic development interventions—in other words, the kinds of studies that many university leaders demand to see in order to accept that developers’ work is genuinely valuable. The paper has a great deal to offer academic development practice and offers a way forward for practitioners to develop rigorous evaluations of the initiatives we champion, which can be used to justify those initiatives and garner institutional support—especially important given the performance regimes that are increasingly becoming prevalent across the world. Using a range of statistical measures, the authors provide insights that will prove helpful to the academic development community, both in terms of findings and methods, and present a robust, comprehensive, and convincing study of the effects of academic development interventions on instructor practices and student learning. It is particularly pleasing to read that the work we as academic developers do can have positive outcomes for Underrepresented Minority students. It’s been hard to measure this, and this article shows how we can; we should all be doing more of this kind of research. The paper offers developers a template for how future studies might be conducted, as well as some of the inherent difficulties involved in quantifying academic development interventions.