SHED Meeting | Friday 27th September 2019 | Royal Conservatoire of Scotland



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


Meet our new Vice-Convenor!

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:

Hazel Christie profile
 Dr Hazel Christie –
Programme Director, PG Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Edinburgh

“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!

SHED Residential 2019/20: October 31 – November 1, 2019: University of St Andrews, St Andrews

OUR Residential event for 2019/20 will take place in St Andrews.

Residential 2019 w timings

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
Ulster University
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

Session Outline

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 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: 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 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 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.

SHED: Friday, May 17, 2019 – the 2020s and Life Ready Learning: Students as Co-Creators – University of Aberdeen

SHED is set to look at making the link between educational development practice and how we translate ‘meta-skills’ (or graduate attributes) into the curriculum, as well as engaging our students.

We will be meeting at the University of Aberdeen on Friday, May 17, from 10.30am until 3.30pm. The venue is Room 266 (2nd floor) in the MacRobert Building (number 17 on the Campus map)

The day will feature two presentations, followed by a workshop discussion focussing on these two inter-related areas, followed by our usual sector updates.

A key feature of the SHED programme at the University of Aberdeen is an interactive, pre-event activity that involves validating and refining a unified model of graduate attributes, which should take less than 30 minutes:

Our schedule for the day is as follows:

10.30am – Arrival & Open

11am – What’s on top (Fiona Smart)

11.10am Graduate Attributes: Searching for a Common Language (Gabi Lipan) Progress in the area of graduate attributes (GAs) has been described as “slow” and “patchy” (de la Harpe, 2012). While there has recently been a resurgence of research on GAs, there is still no agreed list of these attributes nor clear definitions for them. Our aim is to bring together a variety of perspectives to help build a universal, clear and comprehensive model of graduate attributes. This new framework has a role to play in shaping our thinking to help prepare life ready graduates. I will present and discuss our findings to date and go over the plan for the next stages of development.

Further reading:

Osmani et al. (2015):


12.10pm – Student Co-Creation (Cathy Bovill)

o How can we meaningfully develop and incorporate graduate attributes in programme mapping, design/re-design?

o How can students be involved in these processes?

o What attributes do students who participate in co-creation of learning and teaching develop through their involvement?

1.10pm – Lunch

1.50pm – Sector updates (Fiona Smart / Sector Representatives)

2.05pm – Discussion Groups – Life-Ready Learning for 2020s

2.50pm – Discussion:

  • Splinter Groups, and
  • SEDA/SHED Conference 2020

3.20-3.30pm – Round up & Close

Getting there:
From Aberdeen railway station it is a 30 minute walk to our campus, alternatively a taxi will cost you about £10 or catch the number 1 or 2 bus from Union Street (ask for Regent Walk).
If anyone is coming by car please let us know and provide details when confirming your attendance and we’ll reserve you a parking space.
Available for purchase in the Union Building.  A range of hot and cold food, with vegetarian and vegan options, will be available.

If you would like to attend please email SHED Secretary Sean Morrissey to confirm your attendance, or to send your apologies.

SHED is the community of people involved in developing the educational potential of others in Scotland.

You do not have to be an educational developer to participate in SHED and we would warmly welcome you to share this invitation with colleagues.


SHED 22nd February 2019 – the Skills Paradox and its Impact on University Priorities – University Of Edinburgh

Join SHED at our next meeting which will focus on the skills paradox and its impact on University policies in Scotland.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wendy Alexander will deliver the keynote address and provide the platform for exploring what the skills paradox is and how it will affect the work of educational developers in Scotland.

Wendy is Vice-Principal (International) at the University of Dundee and a member of the Universities Scotland’s International Committee. She is a member of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board and it is from this perspective that she will be challenging us to examine our thinking as it concerns topics such as:

  • Ensuring that we have a demand led skills system that is flexible and highly responsive to industry and learner needs, underpinned by robust evidence on employer demand, and access to lifelong careers advice.
  • Embedding a culture of lifelong learning at all stages of an individual’s career, including a stronger emphasis on work-based learning to better respond to the current and future skills needs of industry and learners

Joining Information

The meeting will take place in Room G.43, Paterson’s Land, Holyrood Road, EH8 8AQ.

The draft schedule for the meeting is as follows:

  • 10.30am – Arrival w/ tea & coffee
  • 11am – Welcome and introduction
  • 11.10am – Wendy’s presentation and workshop including questions
  • 12.40pm – Lunch
  • 1.30pm – Discussion around guest speaker topic and presentation
  • 3.30pm Close

To have an indication of numbers can you please email SHED Secretary Amanda Pate to confirm your attendance.

SHED is the community of people involved in developing the educational potential of others in Scotland. Please note: you don’t have to be an educational developer to participate in SHED!