The ICED conference we attended is for Academic Developers internationally and was focused on the theme of Institutional Change: Voices, Identities, Power, and Outcomes. This was topical for the sector at this time where many departments and units like ours are exploring in particular outcomes and how to measure these.
We attended a pre-conference workshop run by colleagues from Queen Mary who have been looking at how we might effectively measure and evidence the value and impact of educational development. They defined impact as an improvement and making a difference. We discussed the many approaches already used such as evaluations of programmes and modules, interviews with lecturers, focus groups and numbers of staff engaged in different initiatives. They have been exploring the many frameworks that exist in the literature but the real issues is that measuring the impact of much of our work is difficult given we do not directly link with students and there are so many other variables. We need to focus on the development we provide and what that promotes for example active engagement and the use real world examples. We can then explore with staff if this is what takes place in their support of student learning. We need to be creating a portfolio of measures and engage in action research. This was a good start to the many linked papers, workshops and panels at the conference.
There were a range of papers/workshops focused on preparing teachers and range of programmes and development opportunities provided which very much mirror ours. There were also papers focused on developing professional identities for both teachers and academic developers and many of these linked to developing more use and contributions to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. There were also some interesting papers and workshops on developing leaders in different roles but our workshop on developing educational leaders was well attended and provided a good discussion on what we would define as educational leaders, what skills and knowledge they needed and what development. We will be writing an article on our work to date which Sara has been involved in.
The conference concluded with a key note by Peter Felton from Elon University who has been exploring reimagining the place of students in educational development. He talked about how we design programmes and activities and then engage students in giving a view or taking part and that we should be engaging students much earlier as partners in the process. This did provide some good discussion in the audience about various ways this might be done but also the issues around student time and we ensure they are recognised for this and rewarded.
Professor Pam Parker and Professor Susannah Quinsee