Details of the day and themes to follow
A very special thank to everyone who braced storm Dennis to join us at Edinburgh Napier on Friday 14th February.
The theme for the day was ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ and we were treated to a great range of presentations and topics from both colleagues at Edinburgh Napier and further afield.
You can find a copy of the agenda below and a collaborative document with reflections, provocations and highlights from the day via our wonderful Wakelet:
10am – Arrival
– Tea & Coffee
10.15am-10.30am – Welcome & what’s on Top
– Fiona Smart, Edinburgh Napier University
10.30am – 11.15am – ‘Being on the outside’
– Albert Atkin, MacQuarie University
Albert Atkin will present on his experiences of attending University from a traditionally underrepresented group. In particular he will discuss how these experiences impacted upon his own education, and how they have shaped his current approaches to promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion in the University sector.
11.15am-12pm – ‘‘Tackling gender-based violence and hate crime on our campuses’
– Mark Wilkinson, Edinburgh Napier University – presentation followed by discussion
Exploring the response to gender based violence and hate crime on our campuses. How are Scottish Universities responding and what opportunities exist within the curriculum and within learning and teaching strategies?’
12pm-12.45pm – Lunch
– Please bring your own lunch or purchase on campus
12.45pm – 2.15pm – ‘A social justice approach to assessment’
– Pauline Hanesworth, SRUC – workshop
Assessment in higher education is neither value-neutral nor culture-free. This session will examine how a cross-pollination of universal design for learning and culturally sustaining pedagogy can be implemented to address assessment inequities.
2.15pm – 3.15pm – ‘Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum: developing a programme of reflective workshops’
– Joan McLatchie, Edinburgh Napier University – workshop
As participants in the HEA-supported project entitled Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum, we designed a series of reflective workshops for programme leaders, with the intention that these could be cascaded through programme teams. In this session, I will explain the project design, and offer a sample of the workshop activities, followed by an opportunity for Q&A. For further information, the case study can be found at https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/embedding-equality-and-diversity-curriculum-developing-train-trainers-model-0.
3.15pm – 3.45pm – Research Project – ‘Perceptions of SHED’
– Fiona Smart / Cameron Graham, Edinburgh Napier University
3.45pm – Wrap up and close
Daphne Loads (2018) Rich pickings: creative professional development activities for university lecturers. Brill Sense, Leiden – Book review by Hazel Christie, Institute for Academic Development, University of Edinburgh
Every so often a little book crosses your path, stops you in your tracks and encourages you to look at the world around you with a different set of eyes. Rich Pickings is one such book. It’s not a conventional academic text in any way, shape or form. For one thing, it’s concise. Only 80 pages in total, it’s made up of a series of 26 mini chapters, some of only around 500 words in length. For another, it’s not heavily referenced. Here you will find mention of the thinkers, mainly from the humanities, to whom Daphne looked for inspiration in developing her approach to teaching, but you will not find any lengthy investigations about what we might mean by creativity or how to achieve this in our own practice. And it has illustrations! Each chapter is accompanied by a line drawing that really enhances its theme and speaks to visual thinkers. Daphne’s book is a testament to the power of prose that is short and succinct to grab our attention and really make us reflect on what we’re doing in our campus classrooms.
For this is undoubtedly a book about face-to-face teaching and the kinds of activities that Daphne has a long track record of using to great success in her own classrooms. We are asked to enter a world that many of us are unfamiliar with – one that she encourages us to approach with an open mind – and to concentrate on the beauty and joy of university teaching. For Daphne, this is found in many of the practices that are more familiar to academic developers with a background in the arts and humanities. Thus, for example, she looks to textual practices such as collaborative close reading, collage making and poetic transcription to ‘offer both inspiration and practical advice to academics who want to develop their teaching in ways that go beyond the merely technical’ (pp.1). This, clearly, is a book that begs us to read it if only to find out what collage has got to do with academic development.
Throughout the book Daphne asserts the role of creative practices in engaging students. She wants teaching to be about both mystery and mastery and illustrates this in a series of ways. You could, perhaps, read a policy document as if it was a piece of literature. What might this reveal to you about its authentic meaning? Or you could read a journal article slowly and deeply instead of widely, really pausing to stop and make connections that capture the nuances and associations of the words. The imaginative leap here is to use this reflective reading to make connections with the teaching identities and teaching practices of the students. Another suggestion is to slow down and really immerse ourselves in our activities – whether it’s reading a book or viewing a painting – and to close off the continuous distractions that beleaguer us. Daphne urges us to stand back and contemplate what we’re doing with a view to encouraging us to rethink who we are and what we do in our classrooms. This is essential to warding off some of the worst excesses of the accelerated academy.
The book is great fun, indeed Daphne describes it as a joy to write. I especially liked the chapter on how to make a Dadaist poem as well as the invited contribution by Amy Burge on threshold concepts and the student-as-vampire. Read it – you will never look at a student again without thinking about if, and how, you invite them in to your classroom. It’s polemical too. Daphne takes issue with the urge that many university managers have for innovation. What, she asks, about the things we do really well? Should we not be thinking about conserving, maintaining and restoring our existing practices? And we should caution students on our PgCAPs that they read educational literature for affirmation of what they do just as much as for what they might choose to do differently. Maybe if we did this the mental health of the profession would be improved.
Throughout the book the emphasis is on playing with words – what do they mean, and how might we trouble or disrupt them in ways that create new associations and meanings? Indeed, Daphne suggests that by paying attention to language some of the simplistic dichotomies between surface and deep learning disappear as we generate fresh insights and ask important questions. I loved the tantalising chapter titles (You gotta have soul; Trouble; Taming the wild profusion of existing things) and the illustrations with went with them.
Whatever practice you choose, Daphne is clear that teaching has to be a carefully managed and guided process. Herein lies one of the book’s real strengths – the wealth of carefully curated and illustrated examples of what you can do to enhance the role of creativity of your classrooms. We hear more about some approaches than others. For example, there’s a detailed description of how you might undertake a collaborative close reading but relatively little on how to read a policy document like a piece of literature. But, throughout there’s an emphasis on doing stuff with our students that troubles their understandings of texts in ways that communicate insight and wisdom. In short, Daphne is urging us to change who we are and how we think about the world in order that we might become better teachers and that our students become better learners. What Daphne doesn’t tell us is just what a skilled academic developer she is to be able to pull off these kinds of approaches in her classrooms.
I read this book in one greedy sitting. I was at my kitchen table, the radio was on and I had a big smile on my face. Read it. It will brighten your day and make you think differently about who you are and how you teach.
On behalf of the SHED Executive Team, it is our great pleasure to declare the 2019 Residential event a roaring success!
Participants were treated to a rich and thought-provoking programme that touched on a number of themes of relevance to academic development in Scotland and further afield.
Huge thanks are due to everyone who contributed to the event, including the organisers and our colleagues at St Andrews who made all the delegates feel so welcome throughout!
You can still join the discussion Twitter using the hashtag #SHEDRes2019
SHED’s Secretary Amanda Pate has also curated a wonderful ‘Wakelet’, that captures the essence of the event: https://wke.lt/w/s/tLmwmY
THEME: IDENTIFYING PRIORITIES FOR PRACTICE IN 2019/20
We hope you can join us for our next meeting of SHED, which is taking place at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow on Friday, September 27th 2019.
Our theme for the day will focus on ‘Identifying Priorities for Practice in 2019/20’.
The meeting will take place in the Café at RCS at 10am, directions to the venue are available here.
If you would like to attend and have not already confirmed your attendance please email: Amanda Pate (SHED Secretary).
SHED is the community of people involved in developing the educational potential of others in Scotland. You don’t have to be an educational developer to participate in SHED and we would warmly welcome you to share this invitation with colleagues!
10.00am – Arrival & Open
- Tea & Coffee
10.30am – What’s on top (Fiona Smart)
- Recap of previous session’s SHED events
- Sector Updates
- SEDA/SHED Conference 2020 (Peter Hartley)
11am – Researching student criticality: implications for academic practice (Cameron Graham)
- Brief overview of recent doctoral research around the development of student criticality
- Identification of key themes from data and implications for education developers: student learning and staff development
- Discussion and ideas for constructive intervention and impact based on data.
12pm – Priorities for RCS: colleague coaching & what makes a good teacher/learner (Jamie Mackay)
- Outlining the key transferable priorities for RCS for session 19/20.
- Discussion around supporting PgCert students, how to best utilise digital technologies in supporting learning and what makes a good teacher and learner.
1pm – Lunch
2pm – In review: SHED reading group (Catriona Cunningham)
- Overview and recap of SHED reading group and activity in 18/19.
- Face to face group book review
3pm – Snakes and Ladders for Educational Developers (Fiona Smart)
3.30pm – Round up & Close
On behalf of the SHED Executive, we are all delighted to welcome Hazel Christie to the role of Vice-Convenor. Hazel is taking over from Sam Ellis, who stepped down following his appointment as Associate Head of the BMus Programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. We wish Sam the very best and thank him for his excellent service.
While many of you will be familiar with Hazel from her involvement in the Scottish academic development community, she recently took the time to introduce herself to the SHED blog:
“I’m based in the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh where I’m a lecturer in University learning and teaching. My major role is Programme Director for the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice. It’s incredible to work with colleagues on the Programme – they are so knowledgeable, energetic, enthusiastic and committed to their roles. I particularly love the interest they have in their students and in thinking about how best to create the high quality learning environments that help our students to excel here at the University. One of the great things about the Programme is the opportunities it brings for colleagues to network and share ideas about the practices used in their Schools. I find it especially inspiring to hear about all of the exciting things our staff are doing in their classrooms and it’s really rewarding to have a hand in supporting others to learn from those experiences. I’ve done a lot of research over the years on the changing nature of the student experience in higher education including work on: student retention; success at university; and on the longitudinal transitions that students make through university. I’ve got two new projects on the go at the moment. One is on blogging as a form of assessment and it’s quite the most lovely piece of research I’ve ever done because students being assessed by blogs love it! They find it innovative, creative, personalised and they even used the F word to describe it as FUN. My other new piece is looking at the PgCAP and finding out about how our graduates use their new knowledge and understanding to become agents of change around learning and teaching. I look forward to discussing all of this new work with my SHED colleagues.”
You can meet the other members of the Executive team and all of the wonderful colleagues who contribute to the Scottish academic development community, at the next SHED meeting in September!
OUR Residential event for 2019/20 will take place in St Andrews.
Further details of the event are as follows:
Presenters and Session Outlines
Thursday 31st October – 11am-5pm
Julia Fotheringham, Edinburgh Napier University
‘“You’ll remember we did this last year ….” Small changes to academic practices in university bring big benefits to students in transition from college’
Workshop – 60mins
This workshop is based on research findings from a longitudinal study of students making the transition from four partner colleges as direct entrants to third year of Edinburgh Napier university. Data from interviews with staff and students suggest that although students are offered pre-entry transition support while they study at college, they face challenges, particularly in relation to assessment, when arriving at university. Findings indicate that college lecturers who share their experience of university study, who encourage students to practice independent learning and who promote academic writing protocols consistent with undergraduate study. help to shape students’ expectations in ways they find extremely valuable. Furthermore, university lecturers who make their requirements explicit and create opportunities for students to understand what is valued by the university provide the key to successful transition. This workshop invites delegates to draw from their own experience to:
- Identify common practices which present challenges to students coming from college
- Make suggestions in respect of the small changes which lecturers can make to benefit students coming from college
- Discuss possibilities for shared CPD between colleges and university academics.
Sarah Floyd & Vicki Davies, Ulster University
‘Feeding the neighbour’s cat’
Workshop – 60mins
Vicky Davies PFHEA & Dr Sarah Floyd PFHEA
Session Learning Outcomes
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
- Comprehend the potential for using professional development of this nature with doctoral researchers
- Reflect on and discuss the impact professional development as an educator can have on doctoral researchers’ future employability in academia
- Reflect on the challenges to resources in providing professional development for this transitory labour pool
- Reflect on the institutional gain from engaging in this provision
Previously, doctoral study was perceived as a necessary apprenticeship for subsequent academic careers, with the expectation that PhD researchers would be able to learn all they needed about this future employment from their supervisors (McAlpine & Åkerlind, 2010). However, the last decade has seen a significant shift from the elite few achieving this highest-level qualification to the massification of global doctoral opportunities, implying an attendant divergence of employment opportunities for graduates (Kehm et al, 2018). Commensurate with this, early career opportunities in academia have become scarcer, more demanding in expectations and often precarious in nature (Pitt & Mewburn, 2016). Regardless of this changing context a significant proportion of doctoral candidates – 51% according to Advance-HE’s 2018 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey – continue to visualize themselves as career academics (Beaton, 2017; Chadha, 2013; Edwards et al, 2011).
To gain insight in to current UK recruitment expectations for early career academics the authors conducted a snapshot review of lecturer and teaching fellow posts advertised on the recruiting site jobs.ac.uk. The posts, ranged from research-intensive institutions to teaching focused ones, all used language clearly indicating that they were targeted at applicants who were recent doctoral candidates: 95% of advertisements expected applicants to have a proven track -record of HE teaching.
This interactive session will illustrate, through a longitudinal case study of postgraduate teaching assistants (PgTAs) based in a large UK university, that focusing on developing professional capabilities and experience as HE educators during doctoral study, not only assures the quality of their current teaching but prepares and enhances the employment potential of those committed to transitioning to a career in academia. The Advance HE accredited programme for PgTAs (D1) at Ulster has, since 2011, supported doctoral researchers to develop not only their skills as educators but also their academic identity, voice and resilience, thus positioning them with the potential and cultural capital to survive as more rounded early career academics. Whilst responding to the immediate professional development needs and the potential future employability of PgTAs, these transient colleagues seek employment, in the majority of cases, at another institution: any longer term return on the investment in their development is therefore lost to the current HEI. Educational development units, where resources are frequently overextended, are expected to prioritise staff development: in resourcing anything more than the basic level of development for this continually changing PgTA workforce, are we overstretching ourselves simply in order to feed the neighbour’s cat?
Advance-HE (2018). Postgraduate Research Experience Survey. Advance-HE, York. Retrieved from: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/institutions/surveys/postgraduate-research-experience-survey 20/11/18
Beaton, F. (2017). Just in time and future-proofing? Policy, challenges and the professional development of part-time teachers. International Journal for Academic Development, 22:1, 19-30. DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2016.1261354
Chadha, D. (2013). Reconceptualising and reframing graduate teaching assistant (GTA) provision for a research-intensive institution. Teaching in Higher Education, 18:2, 205-217. DOI:10.1080/13562517.2012.696537
Edwards, D., Bexley, E., & Richardson, S. (2011). Regenerating the academic workforce: The careers, intentions and motivations of higher degree research students in Australia: Findings of the National Research Student Survey (NRSS). Retrieved from https://research.acer.edu.au/higher_education/23/ 07/08/18
Kehm B.M., Freeman R.P.J., Locke W. (2018) Growth and Diversification of Doctoral Education in the United Kingdom. In: Shin J., Kehm B., Jones G. (eds) Doctoral Education for the Knowledge Society. Knowledge Studies in Higher Education. Springer, Cham pp105-121
McAlpine, L. & Åkerlind, G. (2010) Academic Practice in a Changing International Landscape in McAlpine, L. & Åkerlind, G. (Eds) (2010) Becoming an Academic: International Perspectives. Basingstoke, Palgrave McMillan. pp1-15
Pitt, R. & Mewburn, I. (2016). Academic superheroes? A critical analysis of academic job descriptions, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 38:1, 88-101. DOI: 10.1080/1360080X.2015.1126896
Wilson, R (n.d) The Profile of a Modern Teacher
https://wayfaringpath.coetail.com/2014/10/14/the-profile-of-a-modern-teacher/ accessed 21/11/18
Vicky Davies BA (Hons), MA, MSc, PgCUT, PFHEA, SFSEDA
Vicky started her career in Further and Higher Education 30 years ago as a lecturer in modern languages, moving in to educational development following involvement in national and institutional educational initiatives. For the last 17 years she has worked as a staff and educational developer at Ulster University and id the Course director for the PgCHEP, as well as the Programme Lead for First Steps to Teaching (FST). She also contributes to the institutional Advance HE accredited ENHANCE scheme and supports internal staff interested in developing and seeking recognition for educational excellence. She has also been an Advance HE accreditor and associate since 2012 providing support to many UK and international HEIs and assessing direct fellowship applications. Recent research includes projects exploring the use of dialogue in professional recognition and staff perceptions of engaging with fellowship.
Dr Sarah Floyd BSc (Hons) PGCE PhD PFHEA
Sarah started her career in Higher Education 30 years ago as a lecturer in environmental science and geography, moving in to educational development following involvement in national and institutional educational initiatives. For the last 14 years she has worked as a staff and educational developer at Ulster University and now leads the institutional Advance HE accredited ENHANCE scheme and teaches on taught routes to fellowship. She supports internal staff interested in developing and seeking recognition for educational excellence and manages the Ulster Education Excellence Awards. She has also been an Advance HE accreditor and associate since 2012 providing support to many UK and international HEIs and assessing fellowship applications. Recent research includes projects exploring the use of dialogue in professional recognition and staff perceptions of engaging with fellowship.
Friday 1st November – 9.30am-3pm
Helen King, University of the West of England
‘Exploring the Characteristics of Expertise in Teaching in HE’
Workshop – 90mins
This workshop explores the characteristics of expertise in teaching in HE including looking at reframing how we conceptualise professional development. This will be an interactive workshop which will hopefully give colleagues some practical ideas for using this in their contexts.
Kay Steven, Advance HE
‘An overview of the Equally Safe strategy: considering gender based violence in Learning, Teaching and the Curriculum’
Workshop – 2 hours
This workshop will focus on:
- An overview of the Equally Safe strategy to eliminate gender-based violence in Colleges and Universities
- Consideration of gender-based violence in learning, teaching and the curriculum
- A discussion on implementing Equally Safe as an educational developer.
If you would like to attend, please email SHED Secretary Amanda Pate.
Special rates for booking are available from Ardgowan Hotel in St Andrews until July 7 using booking reference: BK38535.