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.



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

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 (Janis.Davidson@gla.ac.uk).  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.

UKPSF mapping to Certified Membership of ALT

At the last SHED meeting more information was requested on the mapping of UKPSF to ALT’s Certified Membership scheme. This post is written by Martin Hawksey who is employed by ALT and on the SHED Executive:

The Association for Learning Technology is the UK’s leading membership organisation for those whose work involves learning technology. Given the abundance of technology in learning and teaching our membership is broad covering not just those with ‘learning technology’ in their job title and encompasses many roles in the institution including lecturers and administrative support. As part of ALT’s ongoing work supporting the professionalisation of learning technology ALT has created a Certified Membership scheme, CMALT. CMALT is a portfolio-based professional accreditation scheme developed by ALT to enable people whose work involves learning technology to:

  • have their experience and capabilities certified by peers;
  • demonstrate that they are taking a committed and serious approach to their professional development.

CMALT is an independent, peer-led accreditation scheme. However, we always look to map CMALT to other frameworks and courses. Of particular interest to SHED colleagues is the mapping of  CMALT and UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). This mapping is designed to help staff who have completed the UKPSF use their existing evidence as part of a CMALT portoflio and vice versa. The current mapping can be viewed as a Google Doc of downloaded as a PDF.

Here is more information about the CMALT Scheme. It is also worth noting that ALT also offers other types of membership including Associate Membership which is free to staff and students of Organisational Members of ALT. Whilst Associate Membership is not part of an accreditation scheme becoming part of this community may still be of interest as part of your broader CPD. Here is more information on ALT Membership options.

If you have any questions about ALT and CMALT please get in touch with me at martin.hawksey@alt.ac.uk

SHED Nominations for Vacant Executive Posts

As you may be aware there are currently three vacancies on the SHED Executive following  the current role holders having come to the end of their tenure.  The roles are Secretary, Communications Coordinator, and CPD Events Coordinator.

We would like to invite you to self-nominate for any of these roles, which last for a two year period of office.   The responsibilities of each role are detailed below as taken from the SHED Terms of Reference.

Roles Available:


The role of the Secretary includes:

  1. Organising agenda, meeting dates and minutes;
  2. Maintaining currency of IMG and Executive membership;
  3. Ensuring voting rights are exercised appropriately.

Communications Co-ordinator:

The role of the Communications Coordinator includes:

  1. Managing the JISCmail list and network membership;
  2. Updating the SHED website; scottishHEdevelopers.wordpress.com and SHED Twitter feed @SHEDScotland;
  3. Coordinating communications with the SHED Network including IMG members, SHED Network Members and external stakeholders.

CPD Events Coordinator:

The role of the CPD Events Coordinator includes:

  1. Coordinating of CPD event for SHED;
  2. Supporting the Executive with the organisation of the extended SHED CPD events

Specific areas of CPD interest among the SHED Network are to be encouraged, and can be taken forward by Special Interest Groups (SIGs), organised and run by SHED Network Members and/or members of the IMG or Executive.

The full Executive includes the Convenor and the Vice Convenor who have a further one year to serve.

Nomination and Selection Process

All members of SHED are eligible for these roles.  If you would like to nominate yourself for one or more of these roles can you, in the first instance, please email an expression of interest – stating which role(s)you would like to take on – to the Vice Convenor, Jane MacKenzie (Jane.MacKenzie@glasgow.ac.uk) by Monday 20 June 2016 latest.

Where there is only person nominated for a role they will be presented to the IMG and deemed elected to that role.

Where there is more than one person nominated for any role the Vice Convenor will invite each nominated individual to proceed to the next stage and provide a 100 word statement giving their rationale for wishing to take up this SHED Executive role.  These statements will be circulated to the SHED IMG and a voting system introduced using Survey Monkey.  Results of the voting will then be by simple majority and successful nominees invited to formally accept the role.  At the end of the process the SHED community will be informed via email and the WordPress of the results and newly elected Executive members will be briefed by the relevant outgoing SHED Executive member.

The new Executive will be in place for the first meeting of SHED in September 2016.  Dates of the four meetings for the next academic session will be announced shortly.