Higher education professional development trends increasingly focus on areas of quality improvement, quality assurance and optimal technology delivery models to achieve academic excellence. World-class universities rely on their faculty professional development centres for an array of professional development programmes to support teaching, research and student learning. This article examines faculty development centres at eight world-class universities in Australia, China, the United Kingdom and the United States: Australian National University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Hong Kong, University of Melbourne, University of Oxford, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh. Findings from this study include the structural characteristics of each centre as well as a summary of best practices in terms of programme development and resource management. We provide suggestions and recommendations to assist higher education administrators interested in establishing or strengthening professional development programmes at their own institutions.