SHED 22nd February 2018, Heriot-Watt University – Academic Leadership as Practice: The Practices of Leadership [Cancelled]

Notice: As you will be aware, several Scottish universities will be participating in industrial action this month and next and one of the strike days coincides with our SHED meeting scheduled for 22nd February at Heriot-Watt University.  We have therefore decided to cancel this meeting without rescheduling it because of the ongoing nature of the industrial action.

We apologise for any disappointment caused and look forward to seeing you at the next SHED meeting on 18 May.

Academic Leadership as Practice: The Practices of Leadership

There are many ways of demonstrating leadership through the practices that we adopt as Academic and Educational Developers. Leadership for many of us is contextual, it can involve working with, guiding and influencing others, it can be direct, subtle and/or strategic, it can be through projects, change agendas or working with individuals and small groups. The practices which we draw upon to demonstrate our academic leadership are also just as varied (Gibbs, Knapper & Piccinin, 2009).

This reflective workshop will support you to explore your own practice within your own institution and the sphere of influence in which you currently operate. We will work collectively to consider the routes to success through the various practices of leadership that we can utilise to support our activities through contextualising our thinking to a current project or scheme of work.

To get the most out of the session you should come along with a project or piece of work which you are currently working on where you need to demonstrate some form of academic leadership.

The session will facilitated by Alison Nimmo, Glasgow Caledonian University, and Mark Charters, Glasgow School of Art.

Outline for the Day

10:30am           Arrival
11:00am           Welcome: Jane MacKenzie
11:05am           CPD Session: Academic Leadership as Practice: The Practices of Leadership
12:30pm          Lunch Please note: Lunch is not provided.
1:30pm            SHED community discussion of sector issuesAs we are no longer a lobbying group, this will now be an open meeting for all.
3:30pm           Close of day

The meeting will start at 10:30am with an opening welcome at 11:00am and here is the draft agenda for the day, along with minutes of the previous meeting.

Joining Information

The meeting will take place in Court Room, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh Campus on the first floor of the Lord Balerno Building (right next to the campus main reception)  – see campus map and travel guidancePlease note: Lunch is not provided but the EBS Bistro on campus has confirmed lunches can be pre-ordered and they can be collected and paid for at lunchtime. A menu will be circulated at the meeting. It would be helpful to know if there are any dietary requirements so that suitable options can be included. As always you are welcome to bring your own packed lunch.

To have an indication of numbers can you please email SHED Secretary Janis Davidson to confirm your attendance or to send in your apologies.

Sector Updates


Leadership in the SHED

SHED tableaux

How do you celebrate SHED’s 25th birthday? By bringing together the SHED community at its annual residential, hosted this year at the University of Stirling. Yes, it was a cold and damp day, but this didn’t dull our enthusiasm! With gusto, we set out to rummage about in SHED, examining our own tools, ready to consider new ones from colleagues in the UK and further afield. And the theme for our event? “The role of academic developers in strategic leadership and influencing in Higher Education”

We began with 4 ‘provocations’. Alison Green welcomed us to Stirling and started the first provocation by exploring what ‘leadership’ can mean in academia we well as reminding us of the privilege of working in academia. Lindy-Ann Blaize Alfred took us on a poetic exploration of academic development leadership reminding us of the importance of knowing who you are, as well as venturing into uncomfortable territory. For Cathy Bovill, students came into the heart of it as well as the unquantifiable value of inspiring colleagues and for Kay Sambell, new to the Scottish scene, it was the time to pause and reflect on a career inspired by love and passion for making assessment and feedback better.

It is fair to say that we were by then sufficiently provoked to begin to create our own stories of academic development leadership and what it looked like in our context. This link will take you to the SHED tableaux, which weave together to create a plural rich text picture of leadership in our different worlds. Interestingly, the words we used to describe these pictures rarely overlapped, yet as a collective, they offer a pluralistic definition of leadership in academic development which focus on what we do: we question; collaborate; share; hope and – from time to time – we do battle.

We ended this first thought-provoking day with a strong and wonderfully-wise, yet witty keynote from leading academic developer, Roni Bamber. It was thrilling to be joined here by our friends in the Educational Developers Caucus from across the Atlantic, who were able to offer the reassurance that the challenges we face here in Scotland are shared in Canada too (a recording is available here). Drawing on evidence from the literature, as well as her many years of experience, Roni gave us three adjectives that make for successful leadership in academic developers – being principled, pragmatic and opportunistic. Wonderful.

An evening of bonding over a shared hospitality experience that is probably best described as slow food (!), we gathered the next day back in the SHED. Some new faces as well as the spirit of absent friends helped us move forward from thinking about what leadership is in our own contexts to what we can change for the better. SPARQS provided a brilliant introduction to the day – getting us to think explicitly about students and the increasing role they play in institutions in terms of academic leadership. Then, by identifying our metaphorical fairy godmothers and nasty baddies we started to plan how we could make change happen. The day ended by focusing on others – and we support them in our own leadership.  A lovely end to what has been an energising and engaging two days.


SHED CPD Residential 2017: Mon 6th and Tues 7th November, 2017, Stirling University

CC BY-SA 3.0 Nick Youngson

This year’s SHED Residential will be held on Mon 6th and Tues 7th November, 2017, at Stirling University. The theme of this year’s event is “The role of academic developers in strategic leadership and influencing in Higher Education”.

View draft programme | Register here to attend in person or online

During this 2-day CPD residential event we will have an opportunity to come together as a community of practice to explore different ways in which we lead and influence within our institutions. Even if you are unable to make both days, you would be welcome to join us as and when you can. We will also be allowing remote participation for selected sessions. If you will to join remotely please also complete the registration form. The event is such a good opportunity to come together to learn and to reflect on our own and others’ practice in a warm, supportive and occasionally witty environment. This year we are also going international as we will be joined for our inspiring keynote from Prof Roni Bamber by our academic development friends from an equivalent network in Canada [A recording of this talk is available here – there is a short break in the audio during the start].

The event itself will be hosted in Pathfoot Building Room SC3/4, University of Stirling. Here is maps of the campus and directions of how to get there.

Please note: Over the course of the 2 days tea and coffee will be provided by Academic Development at the University of Stirling but we will ask people to bring their own lunch with them or eat on campus.

Please also note that one of the people attending the event has a severe longstanding respiratory condition that means they can be vulnerable to environmental triggers. To ensure their safety it would be appreciated if you could avoid using perfumes and aftershaves on the day of the event. We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

For residential participants we have reserved 18 Club double rooms at the Hotel Collessio in Stirling – please note that these are on a first come, first served basis before the 13th October. We have negotiated a reduced rate of £89.00 B&B or £109.00 DB&B ( dinner inclusive rate allows the guest £25 to spend against the main dinner menu). The rate is based on a ‘Club’ room category and sole occupancy. A promo code will be emailed to you when you register for the event. SHED is not handling payment for room bookings and delegates need to make payment directly with Hotel Collessio.

For those of you who do not wish to stay over or plan to attend single days, you are welcome to join us for dinner at the hotel – please book direct with the hotel.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the CPD Co-ordinators, Catriona Cunningham and Katy Savage.

View draft programme | Register here to attend in person or online

SHED 29th September 2017, Glasgow Caledonian University – Peer Observation of Teaching

Peer Observation of Teaching

This CPD session will be an opportunity to network with colleagues in either a face-to-face or virtual environment to talk about peer observation how and where it takes place within your respective institutions and also to begin identifying potential peer observees and observers for your own academic development practice. The session will facilitated by Catriona Cunningham, University of Stirling, and Cathy Bovill, University of Edinburgh. You can find copies of the guidance and reflective logs here (docs attached)

Outline for the Day

10:30am           Arrival
11:00am           Welcome: Alison Nimmo & Jane MacKenzie
11:05am           CPD Session: Peer Observation of Teaching
12:30pm          Lunch
Please note: Lunch is not provided. There are catering units on campus where SHED participants can buy lunch, tea, coffee etc. As always you are welcome to bring your own packed lunch.
1:30pm             Dialogue with Sector Agencies – Agency reports will be made available via the WordPress site 1 week prior to meeting.

  1. ALT
  2. HEA
  3. QAA
  4. Universities Scotland
  5. SEDA

2pm                  IMG Meeting
3:30pm           Close of day

The meeting will start at 10:30am with an opening welcome at 11:00am and here is the draft agenda for the day, along with minutes of the previous meeting..

Joining Information

The meeting will take place in H116, ground floor of William Harley Building – see campus mapPlease note: Lunch is not provided and we will provide directions to local eateries. As always you are welcome to bring your own packed lunch. So we have an indication of numbers can you please email SHED Secretary Janis Davidson to confirm your attendance or to send in your apologies asap.

Election Result for SHED Vice Convenor

I am delighted to announce that following our recent election that Fiona Smart is the new Vice Convenor of SHED. Fiona will support the incoming Convenor, Jane MacKenzie, over the next two years alongside the other Executive members Janis Davidson, Martin Hawksey, Catriona Cunningham and Katy Savage.  Fiona has shared a few words with us on hearing of her election:

“I am absolutely delighted to become SHED’s Vice Convenor and look forward to supporting the Convenor in her role and working with the SHED Executive. In addition, my personal aspiration is to progress SHED’s purpose and impact, focusing on widening its active membership, through targeted initiatives, and enhancing its international connections for mutual gain.”

A reminder that the first meeting of the academic session 2017/18 will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University on 29 September 2017 – make sure you have that date in your diaries!

Best wishes to all!

Alison – the ‘auld’ SHED Convenor

Peer Observation of Teaching (POT) Scheme – Updated

At the SHED meeting on the 11th May 2017 draft guidance developed by Cathy Bovill and Catriona Cunningham was presented for feedback from the SHED community.


The purpose of the SHED POT Scheme is to encourage members of the educational development community in Scotland to benefit from learning and teaching development and support opportunities from across the range of higher education institutions and colleagues . Research evidence suggests that there is great benefit to be had from observing others’ teaching practices, having your own teaching observed, and having informal conversations about teaching and learning (Blackwell & McClean, 1996; Bovill & Cairns, 2014; Gosling, 2005; Hammersley-Fletcher & Orsmond, 2004; Peel, 2005; Roxå and Mårtensson 2009; Whitlock & Rumpus, 2004).

The final version of the SHED POT Guidance can be downloaded from the link below. We plan to launch the SHED POT scheme officially at the start of the 17/18 academic year. Meanwhile, ethical approval is now being sought to research how useful the POT scheme is to people. More information on this will be provided at the first meeting of SHED in the new academic year.

Click here to read/download the full POT guidance 

Providing Feedback

For more information/feedback about the POT guidance please contact Catriona Cunningham or Cathy Bovill


SHED Election of Executive Member: Vice Convener

Our current Convener is due to stand down from the end of this academic session having served three years in post.  The Convener role will then be filled by the current Vice Convener as per our Terms of Reference.

Members are now asked to consider standing for the post of Vice Convenor of SHED which will become vacant at the end of this academic session.  Our terms of reference state that the role of the Vice Convenor is, over a two year period, to:

1.1 The role of the Vice Convener includes:

a) Supporting the Convener in their duties and acting as deputy where appropriate at SHED Meetings and on external bodies.

There would be an expectation that the Vice Convener would thereafter take on the role of the Convener.

1.2 The role of the Convener includes:

a) Promoting and supporting an open and inclusive community across the SHED Network
b) Liaising with, and representing SHED with external agencies
c) Organising, in conjunction with the Executive, agendas and meeting papers
d) Chairing SHED meetings

We would welcome self nomination from any member of our SHED community (ie you do not have to be an institutional member to stand).  Expressions of interest should be sent to our Secretary Janis Davidson by 22 May 2017 (  This will allow us to put a voting process into operation and have final selection of the new Vice Convenor before the end of this academic session.

We would encourage you to consider this CPD opportunity and get involved in further developing our Community of Practice and extending our activities.