So what is the alternative? There have been some great examples of innovative professional development explored at the conference, such as faculty-led unconferences, mentoring programs that focus on reciprocal mentorships between faculties members from different departments and with complementary areas of expertise, and even an experiential on-campus "Mastership" program. But the one idea that has united all of the different in-house models that I have seen is that professional development needs to be mission-centered and individualized to fit school culture. Rooting change and development programs into the mission makes it less daunting, because the change can be rebranded as just the next step on a path the school has already been traveling for a long time.
So is this the end of the educational consultant? I don't think so. However, like all things, I think their role needs to evolve to fit a changing market. Consultants, like teachers, cannot position themselves as the gatekeepers of knowledge, as experts who will impart their wisdom onto a captive audience. Instead, I see consultants moving into a facilitator role, providing intense training to a few selected campus individuals, who then return and provide internal momentum and stability for the rest of the faculty. Consultants can provide continued support and differentiated training to the campus leaders or small groups of dedicated first followers through online or blended means.