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2018, Cilt 8, Sayı 3, Sayfa(lar) 593-604
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2018.300
Designing and Evaluating a Faculty Development Program on English Language Needs: A Mixed Methods Approach
Ali DİNCER, Hatice Kübra KOÇ
Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University, Faculty of Education, Department of English Language Teaching, Erzincan, Turkey
Keywords: Faculty member, Faculty development, Needs analysis, Willingness to communicate, Perceived self-efficacy
Abstract
Faculty development in higher education is a promising area of research, which requires further study in terms of present-day academics’ needs. Considering the necessity of English in academia, this study aimed to determine the academics’ language needs and to test the effectiveness of an academic development training designed based on the identified needs. Then, a multiphase mixed methods design was adopted to answer the aims. Accordingly, a needs analysis survey regarding the English language requirements of university faculties was conducted across 105 faculty members in Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University, a Turkish state university. In addition, 35 out of the members completed an intensive three-week English conversation and academic writing program designed in accordance with the language needs of the academics. The changes between the pre-test and post-test scores for the academics were investigated, with a focus on the willingness to communicate in English, and perceived self-efficacies in English speaking and writing. Further, the academics’ opinions on the training program were collected with open-ended interview questions at the conclusion of the course. The needs analysis survey results indicated that the majority of academics believe their English is either at a beginner or elementary level, and that they require English to fulfil several academic purposes. The findings relating to the effectiveness of the training program showed significant differences in the academics’ pretest and post-test scores, in favor of the post-test scores, regarding willingness to communicate, and perceived self-efficacies in speaking and writing. The findings from the open-ended questions about the program confirmed the effectiveness of the course and highlighted the necessity to improve foreign language proficiency levels in university faculties through similar language training programs. In light of the findings, implications for the internalization of the higher education institutions are discussed at the end of the paper.
  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Introduction
    In the globalization era, remaining up-to-date is a significant concern for many who aim to be professionals in their respective vocations, and work in academia and higher education institutions. Regarding the importance of educating academics, faculty development has been a topic of interest in North America for some time but requires further research in other parts of the world (Phuong, Cole, & Zarestky, 2018). Though the amount of literature focusing on the development and in-service training of teachers and school administrators working in the Turkish National Ministry of Education (Turkish acronym, MEB) continues to increase (e.g., Altan, 2016; Küçüksüleymanoğlu, 2006), faculty development is a new concept in Turkey and limited research has been completed regarding the training of academics, whether they are veteran or novice faculty members (Odabaşı, 2003; 2005).

    Recent developments in academia undermined the traditionalist viewpoint of the ivory tower structure of universities and academics, and indicated that traditionalists are evolving to become entrepreneurial scientists (Etzkowitz et al., 2015; Lam, 2010). To sustain the university’s entrepreneurial ability, the faculty, as the main human source within a higher education institution, should be equipped to address the changing norms and practices of modern academic life. Faculty development can be accepted as a panacea to increase the effectiveness of institutional teaching and the quality of faculty research (Heppner & Johnson, 1994; Moeini, 2003; Odabaşı, 2003). It is known that, in MEB, the concept of educators is not limited to teachers or administrators, in higher education institutions, the term also encompasses faculty. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to the support of the needs of academic staff at universities, and few training opportunities have been provided (Odabaşı, 2003, 2005). Therefore, faculty development should be supported as an antidote to stagnation (Murray, 2002) for the internalization of universities. This issue remains an important concept awaiting further exploration in the context of Turkish education (Çetinsaya, 2014; Kabakçı & Odabaşı, 2008).

    In order to create a well-designed and executed faculty development training program for an institution, the needs of the professional environment should be pre-determined, and a balance between meeting the participants’ and organization’s requirements should be supported (Wallin & Smith, 2005). As the initial step of the training, the needs analysis should be completed to ensure the required skills and that necessary knowledge are addressed. Research regarding the needs of Turkish academics identified several issues and showed that faculty development is required in several areas, such as effective teaching skills, effective use of technological resources, statistical data analysis training for research, writing and publishing papers, and English use as an academic lingua franca (Karakaş, 2012). One of the most important needs for an academic is foreign language proficiency as a component of global competencies that an academic should have (Koç et al., 2015).

    More specifically, the use of English in academic settings can be accepted as one of the foremost important goals for academics to keep pace with the constantly changing needs of the scientific world (Flowerdew, 2001, 2007; Salager-Meyer, 2008; Tardy, 2004). As an academic skill, English is a key concept allowing all academics to present their research to the academic world and to publish their studies internationally (Belcher, 2007; Crystal, 1997; Flowerdew, 2001). While the importance of using the English language in the international academic community has been accepted by academics, the English language competency of Turkish academics is not at an adequate level, and there are negative perceptions regarding English language proficiency tests (Yeşilyurt, 2016). The nation-wide study TEPAV (2015), which was conducted at 38 universities in Turkey, showed that academics’ English language knowledge was not sufficient for academic studies, and that their knowledge in this field should be improved using different methods. Though the problem has been diagnosed in literature, and the necessity for Turkish academics to use English for communication purposes was stated in many studies (e.g., Atila, Özken, & Sözbilir, 2015; Erişen et al., 2009; Güven & Brewster, 2013; Koç et al., 2015; Tuzgöl Dost & Cenkseven, 2007; Yavuzer & Göver, 2012; Yeşilyurt, 2016), there seems to be very little effort to address the English needs of academics in Turkish higher education institutions. Even the Faculty Development Program (Turkish acronym, ÖYP) for beginning researchers, in place to increase the numbers of academics in certain universities and managed by the Council of Turkish Higher Education (Turkish acronym, YÖK), fails to support the real needs of the academics (Gündeğer, Soysal, & Yağcı, 2012; Yalçınkaya, Koşar, & Altunay, 2014). As found by Gündeğer and colleagues (2012), the majority of research assistants who completed English language education, whether in country or abroad, expressed that English education programs were insignificant contributors to their English conversation skills, and that the programs need urgent reformation in accordance with the needs of the researchers, addressing areas such as English speaking, writing articles and delivering presentations.

    A high percentage of the universities (71%) in the top 100 of the World University Rankings are from English-speaking nations, especially the United States (Marginson & van der Wende, 2007). In this race for global prestige, English, as a lingua franca and the dominant language in scientific publishing, is a necessity for academics to share scientific knowledge (Crystal, 1997; Hamel, 2007; O’Neil, 2018). Research published in a language other than English is cited less (Marginson & van der Wende, 2007), and non-native English-speaking academics sometimes fall behind native English counterparts, as they experience more problems regarding the publication of their work (Belcher, 2007; Flowerdew, 2001, 2007; Salager-Meyer, 2008; Tardy, 2004). Accordingly, to target higher places in global university rankings, higher education institutions should place importance on solving problems within the faculty. Universities should organize professional preparation programs or identify English courses suitable for the faculty, in order to become acquainted with the nature of the academic publication process and the requisite written communication skills (Salager-Meyer, 2014; Uzuner, 2008). Further, they should consider how to increase faculties’ international academic cooperation and opportunities to publish international papers within the scope of their strategic planning (Koç et al., 2015; TEPAV, 2015).

    Considering the necessity of English in academia, this study aimed to investigate Turkish academics’ English language needs in academia and test the effectiveness of academic development training designed based on the identified needs through a participant-driven approach. The following research questions guided the study:

    1. What are the needs of Turkish academics regarding the use of English in academia?
    2. To what extent is academic development training on English in academia perceived to be useful for Turkish academics?

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Methods
    Multiphase Mixed Methods Design
    In this study, a multiphase design that is a type of the mixed methods with needs analysis and training intervention steps (see Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) was used to answer the research questions. The research design and its phases are outlined in Figure 1.


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    Figure 1: Multiphase research design.

    As shown in Figure 1, the first phase focused on designing a needs analysis survey to determine academics’ needs regarding English use in academia and the results of the survey data. In the second phase, an intervention regarding the needs of the academics was conducted, and the academics’ pre- and posttest scores were quantitatively gathered. As the final phase, the academics’ opinions about the program were qualitatively collected for the program evaluation.

    Participants
    The study encompassed two phases, with the number of participants changing in each. In the first phase, 105 academics (Male = 65, Female = 40) from Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University, a state university in Turkey participated in the needs analysis, in accordance with the convenience sampling strategy. The participants’ English language proficiency scores in national English exams (e.g., KPDS, UDS, YDS) ranged from 20 to 91.25 out of 100, where the average exam score was 65.01 (SD = 12.29). In the second phase, 60 of the 105 participants who agreed to participate in academic development training at the end of the academic year 2015-2016 were invited to the training program. However, only 35 (Male = 17, Female = 18) participants completed the program. The data collected from those participants were used for the analyses. Details regarding the participants in each group are shown in Table 1.


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    Table 1: Participants’ Academic Titles and Disciplines

    As shown in the table, participants held various titles and were from three main disciplines. In the needs analysis step, participants who responded to the survey were mostly Assistant Professors and Research Assistants (n = 78; 74.3%), and a high majority worked in science-related disciplines (n = 44; 41.9%).

    Instruments
    Various tools were used as the instruments of the study. In the first phase, a needs analysis survey regarding academics’ English needs was applied to determine English requirements in academia. In the second phase, one-factor five-point Likert scales (ranging from “1 = Very Low” to “5 = Very High”) were applied to test the efficacy of the program. The scales focused on academics’ willingness to communicate in English, and self-efficacies in English speaking and academic research. Lastly, open-ended interview questions regarding the training activity of the participant were asked. Further details of the instruments are presented in Figure 2.


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    Figure 2: Data collection instruments.

    In addition to the details outlined in Figure 2, the reliability of the one-factor scales was calculated before and after the training activity. Cronbach’s alpha reliabilities of the scales (α ≥ 0.70) were considered acceptable, in accordance with the criterion indices of instrument reliability (Kline, 2000). The pre- and post-test reliabilities were as follows: Willingness to Communicate Scale = 0.89 and 0.92; English Speaking Self-Efficacy Scale = 0.79 and 0.74; Academic Research Self-Efficacy Scale = 0.86 and 0.93.

    Training
    In the training phase, three foreign language instructors from an American University, whose expertise was closely related to English-speaking skills and academic English writing, were contacted and informed about the needs of the academics. While designing the training program, the researchers and the foreign instructors worked together. The training activities and materials were developed as referring to the constructivist approach in general education domain, specifically task-based and content-based language instruction models in the language education field. In these offshoot communicative models, students actively engage in language learning processes with a number of tasks, meaningful activities, and master both language and content by using authentic language (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2015). Later, sample training curricula for conversational English and academic writing were prepared in collaboration, and the instructors were invited for a three-week summer training program in Turkey. For the training activity, English proficiency groups for both speaking and academic writing were prepared. Proficiency groups (beginner and elementary) were formed regarding the previously provided English proficiency test scores and self-reports. Morning and afternoon sessions were designed for conversational English and academic writing, allotting two hours per weekday for each course (total of 60 hours of face-to-face training). The content of the training activity was quite similar in the proficiency groups and only the activities were modified in accordance with the proficiency levels. Details regarding the conversational English groups as follow:

    • In week one, the participants explored their motivation for studying English conversation first and engaged in structured improvisational speaking exercises to help them become more comfortable with communicating at their level. The week culminated with small student presentations during the first seminar.

    • In week two, they utilized role-playing activities to stimulate situations that they might experience while travelling, studying, or working abroad. They also examined various media and discussed the information that covered. The week culminated with the learners developing personal presentations about what they discovered about themselves for the second seminar.

    • In week three, they concentrated on group dynamics in the classroom and the workforce, conducted debate exercises. As the culminating activity was designed and the groups of learners were assigned to either argue “for” or “against” assigned topics. The learners researched and presented their topics in a debate-style for the final seminar.

    In line with the aimed goals for each week, the participants gave a short presentation each week and engaged in a number of language learning games and exercise such as “Who am I?, Chinese Whispers? Word Challenge, Simon Says, Drama, Role Play” and so forth.

    In addition to conversational exercise, the academic writing class groups also practiced their writing skills for three weeks. During the training, the participants were worked together. They edited and revised their writing during the class, and they also responded to online queries and gave feedback to each other’s online posts on google groups. Further details regarding the academic writing groups are as follow:

    • In week one, the participants explored their individual motivation for engaging in academic writing through a focus on writing introductions and clear thesis statements or research questions. The week culminated in a model article written by the participants that captured their reflections on their development of their writing processes. Participants may simultaneously work on their own academic articles in progress.

    • In week two, they examined the guidelines for writing and publishing in international journals and develop skills needed to write an integrated literature review. They also added the literature review to the group article and began to analyze data collected through surveys and questionnaires in the first week.

    • In week three, they practiced synthesizing data/arguments and writing conclusions to refine the narrative aspects of their academic writing. They formulated an abstract of the group article, or of their own work, and shared with colleagues. They also engaged in writing process strategies throughout the class to develop skills that apply to future writing situations.

    In addition to these training activities, the participants were free to spend time with the trainers after classes and join extracurricular trips on weekends. According to the participation sheets in the first week of July 2016, the courses started with 45 academics. Though 60 academics agreed to participate in the program at first, only 35 attended regularly, had a limited absence rate (one to five hours) and successfully finished the program.

    Data Collection and Analysis Procedures
    In the initial data collection process, first, the university approvpresentations al was secured. Later, an online flyer, including a needs analysis survey and an invitation to the academic development program, was sent to academics’ official university emails (around 800 people) in Erzincan Binali Yildirim University, Turkey. After two weeks of the online data collection process, 105 responses were received, where 60 agreed to join the planned program. The survey data was descriptively evaluated, and an academic development training program regarding the oral communication skills and academic writing needs, the main needs of the participants in the needs analysis, was designed.

    To test the effectiveness of the program, the scales were administered to the academics both before and after the training activity. In addition, the academics’ written opinions on the activity were obtained at the conclusion of the program. Though a higher number of academics participated in the program, only 35 scales were paired and analyzed. Data from the scales were first tested for reliability, normality, and homogeneity of variance. Later, statistically reliable and normally distributed data were analyzed for the effectiveness of the course via the SPSS 21.00 packet program, in terms of paired sample t-test analysis. In order to lessen the increased Type I error rate because of the multiple comparisons in the study, Bonferroni corrections (i.e., dividing the original alpha by the number of the tests, were adjusted to test the differences between preand post-test scores. Then the alpha level for the paired sample t-test (i.e., αaltered = .05/3) was accepted as α ~ .017.

    The qualitative data from the written responses were categorized and descriptively analyzed by both researchers. The findings from quantitative and qualitative data are presented in bar graphs and tables. Further, sample excerpts from the qualitative results are provided to support the findings and to present additional detail.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Results
    In this section, the findings related to two research questions are presented. First, 105 academics’ English language needs were determined, and later the effectiveness of the in-service training regarding the needs was tested with the data from 25 participants.

    Turkish Academics’ English Needs in Academia
    To answer the first research question, the needs of Turkish academics related to English were determined. Firstly, 105 academics rated their own perceived levels in each language skill. The findings are shown in Figure 3.


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    Figure 3: Perceived level of macro language skills. Note: Numbers indicate percentages.

    As evident in Figure 3, most of the academics rated themselves as either beginner or elementary in terms of the four macro language skills. Analyzing the highest percentages of each skill, the academics perceived their level of speaking to be at the beginner level and their level of writing, reading and listening skills to be average. Furthermore, the discrepancy between the perceived levels of reading is lower compared to other language skills.

    In addition, the academics rated their general needs regarding English use in academia. The findings are shown in Figure 4.


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    Figure 4: English needs in academia. Note: Numbers indicate frequencies.

    According to the figure, academics need English mainly for writing research papers, reading articles, collaborating with foreign partners and participating in international conferences. They also require English for other purposes, such as following field updates and for translation purposes. Studying abroad, gaining academic reputation and surfing on the internet were the least common English language needs.

    In addition to the perceived levels of English and their English needs across academic platforms, the academics’ top two choices regarding the needs for each language skill were determined. Figure 5 shows the top choices for each skill.


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    Figure 5: Most-chosen needs for each language skill. Note: Numbers indicate frequencies.

    The high frequencies relating the needs in each language skill showed that academics use all four language skills. In addition to the most-chosen needs outlined in Figure 5, the academics rated other requirements, such as speaking in daily life, listening to mass media, preparing presentations, reading daily press, and so forth. From the total frequencies in each skill, academics have a significant need for productive language skills as relevant to academia. Regarding speaking and writing, academics mainly need English to deliver presentations and write research papers.

    The Effectiveness of Academic Development Training in English in Academia
    To test the effectiveness of the training, the quantitative findings from the academics’ pre- and post-test scores were collected first. As a second step, paired-sample t-test analyses were conducted. Next, the qualitative findings from the academics’ written responses were discussed.

    Quantitative findings of the intervention
    The findings related to the academics’ willingness to communicate, perceived speaking self-efficacy and academic research self-efficacy levels in English are presented with the tables of descriptive and t-test results for each variable.

    Willingness to communicate in English
    Descriptives of the willingness to communicate scale, regarding pre- and post-test scores, are presented in Table 2.


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    Table 2: Descriptives of Willingness to Communicate in English

    Overall, academics’ perceived willingness to communicate scores differentiate each item in a positive way and their gain scores increased by different amounts. The pre- and post-test scores changed significantly, especially regarding preferences for having a small group conversation with acquaintances, and they were least willing to talk to a stranger.

    As shown in Table 3, there was a high statistical difference between the participants’ pre- and post-test scores (t = -0.54, p < .017). The academics’ willingness to communicate in English differentiated positively after the training program.


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    Table 3: Results of Paired Sample T-Test Concerning Willingness to Communicate in English

    Self-efficacy in English speaking
    The addressed self-efficacy items included “can do” statements. The descriptive findings related to these items are presented in Table 4.


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    Table 4: Descriptives of Self-Efficacy Perceptions Concerning Speaking

    The table indicates that the pre-test scores of each speaking English self-efficacy item increased in the post-test application. The highest gain was found for the introduction of self and family members, while the lowest increase was for the item “I can speak English with an excellent accent.”

    As illustrated in Table 5, there was a statistically meaningful difference between the pre- and post-test scores of the academics in speaking self-efficacy (t = -4.80, p < .017). After the training program, the academics’ English self-efficacy differentiated positively.


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    Table 5: Results of Paired Sample T-Test Concerning Self-Efficacy in Speaking English

    Self-efficacy in academic writing in English
    The writing self-efficacy items included “can do” statements and descriptive findings related to the scale, as presented in Table 6.


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    Table 6: Descriptives of Self-Efficacy Perceptions Concerning Writing

    Table 6 shows that the gain score of each item increased, in different amounts, after the post-test application. Compared to the other two scales, the gain scores here were lower, changing between 0.69 and 0.29. The highest gain was the “writing an abstract” item, and the lowest gains were for the items: explaining research problems and discussing findings.

    Table 7 shows that there was not a meaningful difference between the participants’ pre- and post-test scores regarding writing self-efficacy (t = -2.46, p < .017). Though the academics’ English writing self-efficacy increased after the training activity, this growth was not statistically significant and was not much compared to the variables: willingness to communicate and speaking self-efficacy.


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    Table 7: Results of Paired Sample T-Test Concerning Self-Efficacy in Academic Writing

    Qualitative findings of the intervention
    All academics (35) were asked to rate their enjoyment of the program using a scale ranging from 0 (I am not satisfied all) to 4 (I am highly satisfied with the program). All participants said they were satisfied with the program and would like to participate in a similar activity in the future. Twenty-five of the participants also responded to the three open-ended questions concerning the evaluation of the program.

    Regarding the strengths of the program, 16 academics said they found the course highly productive for the development of their English proficiency in a general sense. On this issue, one of the academics said: “With this course, I practiced my English skills constantly and gained self-confidence.” Similarly, another participant stated: “The course increased my English-speaking skills, especially speaking confidence with foreigners.” Another item within the course evaluation focused on the program activities. Nine of the participants said the courses were very enjoyable; that teacher made the course more attractive to the participants. As the teachers created a stress-free atmosphere in the class, the academics felt relaxed and voluntarily engaged in the activities. Regarding this viewpoint, one academic said: “I developed my speaking and writing skills enjoyably with this course in a non-pressured atmosphere.” Another participant noted: “The activities in this course were very enjoyable. I enjoyed a lot during lessons.” Five participants emphasized that the teachers were experts in the field and, therefore, knew how to motivate and encourage the learners. On this issue, one academic stated: “The selection of the teachers for the course was great. Teachers being an expert in the field and use of body language motivated me to be a part of the group easily.” In parallel, another participant said: “Project members were very professional in their job; they are also good-humored and good at communicating with people.”

    In addition to the positive aspects of the program, the academics listed the weakest points. The majority of the academics (16 out of 25) complained about the short duration of the course, agreeing that the three week-period was very limited and that they require further training. Five academics focused on their colleagues, saying that individual differences, such as proficiency levels of the academics and some academics’ desire to “show off” were the weakest points. Regarding this fact, one academic stated: “There is not any problems except some colleagues in the writing class. They always show off and try to be on the stage. This made me really annoyed sometimes.” Lastly, four academics addressed problems regarding the content of the academic writing subject, saying that the writing course did not meet their expectations. Sample excerpts described this issue as follows: “Writing course content can be changed in a way more suitable for publishing,” and: “Proficiency differences in the writing course was a problem for me.”

    For the development of other such programs, academics (21 out of 25) said similar programs with a long duration, between three to 12 months or year-round, would be more effective. On this issue, one participant said: “We [academics] need such kind of activities much but at that period of the course [sic] should be longer.” Another participant added that programs could be much more effective if the problems regarding the proficiency level difference are solved. Addressing another weaker points of the program, four academics said the content of the academic writing course requires some improvement. On this issue, one participant said: “The issues about how to review a paper and discuss the ideas with literature should be also considered.”

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Discussion
    This study investigated the needs of Turkish academics regarding English use in academia and tested the effectiveness of a training activity designed according to the pre-determined needs. The data collected through several resources were descriptively analyzed, and findings regarding the English language needs of academics and necessity of the faculty development activities for universities were presented.

    The needs analysis survey showed that the participating academics had limited ability in English, and perceived themselves as either medium or beginner level English languages users regarding different macro skills. While the participants mostly perceived themselves as beginners regarding English-speaking skills, they had a moderate level in others. As Güven and Brewster (2013) found in their research on faculty development programs regarding the English language, the participants’ perceived lowest proficiency skill was speaking. A possible reason for this issue could be the English language tests in Turkey, which are administered by the Assessment Selection and Placement Center (Turkish acronym, ÖSYM). Proficiency in English is an important milestone and a necessity for academics in Turkey to gain a higher title, as preset by the Turkish Interuniversity Council (Turkish acronym, UAK). Academics mostly prefer to take the ÖSYM-based national language exams, which disregard oral communication skills but assess the participants’ reading level and knowledge of grammar (see Akpınar & Çakıldere, 2013). In the needs analysis step in this current study, none of 105 academics reported that they had obtained an international exam score, such as TOEFL or IELTS. Although Turkish academics are aware of the necessity for English conversation skills (e.g., Erişen et al., 2009; Koç et al., 2015), they choose the easiest way of overcoming barriers for promotion in their field. As found by Karakaş (2012), taking the preset scores from the internationally recognized exams such as IELTS, TOEFL for the academics is more difficult than the national exams such as YDS, UDS, and work-related reasons play a significant role in the desire to learn English. When it comes to the specific needs of academics, this study showed that English is needed mainly when delivering presentations at international conferences, listening to international counterparts’ speeches, collaborating with foreign colleagues, preparing manuscripts, and reading field literature. Translation from Turkish to English is an additional need. These results are consistent with some studies (e.g., Erişen et al., 2009; Gündeğer et al., 2012; Karakaş, 2012; Koç et al., 2015; TEPAV, 2015; Yavuzer & Göver, 2012). The findings of this research update the available knowledge regarding current English language needs of Turkish academics, and highlight the necessity for improving language proficiency levels in order for Turkish academics to remain competitive with their international counterparts.

    The faculty development program designed for this research resulted in a significant positive increase in the academics’ willingness to communicate in English, as well as improvement in the level of English speaking. Though there was an increase in the writing self-efficacy, this increase was not significant. The participants were satisfied with the program and eager to attend such training opportunities in the future. Their demands regarding similar programs were related to improvements such as longer course periods and training specifically for writing for publications. The effectiveness of the program addressed a need stated in the literature with some success, but the academics require longer training programs regarding the academic publication process, as reported by other researchers (Koç et al., 2015; Örücü & Şimşek, 2011; Öztürk & Özdemir, 2017; Uzuner, 2008). It should also be noted that YÖK, MEB and The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (Turkish acronym, TUBİTAK) have supported Turkish academics with international research fellowship programs for a significant period of time. However, the limited language proficiency of the fellows may hinder the effectiveness and aims of these programs. Research on these programs showed that many academics see these fellowships as an opportunity to practice English abroad, sometimes using the entire duration primarily to develop their English conversation skills (Atila et al., 2015; Gümüş & Gökbel, 2012). As stated by Atila and colleagues (2015), it is crucial for academics to develop their English-speaking and listening skills before travelling abroad. Considering this, some universities, which have a long history and large budgets, support opportunities for the academic staff and organize structured training opportunities with their international partner universities. For instance, Atatürk University and Gazi University organize similar training programs within research centers for international affairs, as well as public education centers of the universities. In addition, some research is targeted at improving and revising the content and goals of such activities (e.g., Öztürk & Özdemir, 2017). However, sending academic staff abroad on a scholarship from the university itself is beyond reach for some institutions, especially those founded in Turkey after 2006. As stated by Doğan (2017), it is unrealistic to expect great performances from these universities when compared with those that have 50 years of history; these newer institutions need at least 25 to 50 years to compete with the world’s standard universities. In this case, the newer universities should use their limited financial resources carefully and consider the needs of academic staff in their strategic planning.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Conclusion
    In sum, this research is significant considering its two-fold approach, combining theory and practice in the same study, showing that academics are open to the idea of faculty development and that faculty development programs are a necessity in universities. In order to reach the goals of Turkey, it is suggested that higher education institutions assume significant responsibility in supporting opportunities for academics’ individual development, and update academics according to the needs of the changing world with similar training activities. It should be noted that the study possesses some weaknesses, which lower the impact and generalizability of the findings. First, the study is country-specific, particularly limited by its focus on academics from a non-English university founded in Turkey after 2006. The needs of academics working in English universities and universities with a longer-duration background could be different from the group of academics who participated in this study. Another weakness is regarding the design of the intervention in the study, which included a one-group pre-test and post-test. This design has minimal internal validity, as there is no control group, and maturation may affect the changes between pre- and post-tests (Duckart, 1998; Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002). To increase the internal validity in this design, keeping the interval between the tests short in order to lessen the maturation effect and adding more design elements regarding the intervention are advised in the literature (Shadish et al., 2002). As the creation of control and treatment groups was beyond the scope of this research, duration of the program was limited to three weeks, and a qualitative aspect of the training activity was added in the study. Further studies regarding the needs and faculty development of academics in English-language universities, which have finished their institutionalization, should be considered for future research. To obtain more precise causal relationships, well-constructed experimental designs, including control and treatment groups with more academics participating, could be applied.

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University Scientific Project Office supported this study with the project grant number SBG-2016-378. An earlier version of the study was presented orally at the First International Black Sea Conference on Language and Language Education. The authors thank the academics and teachers who took part in the program and appreciate anonymous reviewers for their comments on the improvement of the manuscript.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • References

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  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
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