I have been undertaking educational development activity for many years. For about a decade of those years I was working in nurse education and was fortunate enough to be involved in the setting up of an education development unit in a school of nursing and midwifery. In 2008 I moved into a central role in the across institution Centre for Education and Academic Practice. As with many other centres ours has changed its name over the years. I have always been fortunate to have great colleagues to work with however it was not until my move the central centre that I became aware of SEDA and its work. I went along to a conference with a colleague and presented and was suddenly part of this great community of people who were supportive, asked about your work and offered comments and suggestions. Over the few days at the conference I realised how this was a network that I really wanted to be part of and share my work as well as learn from others. Not doing things in a moderate fashion, and encouraged by Julie Hall, I jumped with both feet and offered to join the conference and events committee that just happened to have some space on it. Did I know what I was doing in terms of workload etc. no, BUT I did know this was one of the most supportive groups of people I had been able to discuss education developments with.
I have been on the conference and events committee for many years now and have been co-chair for a few years. The committee enables me to contribute not only ideas about future themes and speakers but also provide support for those who submit their abstracts with feedback and meeting them at the conference. It is great being able to plan the conference so there are plenty of sessions sharing good practice, but also the networking times and social events which are all so important to making the two conferences a success.
Once I had started to take a more active role I then looked at gaining a SDEA Fellowship. I had already gained HEA Fellowship and looked at what SEDA offered. In my role as associate director of a department that focused on enhancing education I had undertaken a range of developments and gained a great deal of knowledge. The staff I work with in the department are all very skilled in their role and I wanted to ensure our department as well as myself were recognised for the work we did. I therefore embarked upon my SEDA Senior Fellowship in the days of the large portfolio of evidence and a follow up discussion with two peers. I found this good opportunity to reflect on where I had come from and how I had developed and changed in role. Whilst the work to gain the fellowship at the time seemed to be enormous I wanted to gain some recognition for being a developer and supporting others in their teaching but more than that their whole education role. I was able to complete the work required and gained recognition as can be seen from my certificate.
I have always felt that I wanted to contribute to this community and so in addition to the role on the conference committee I stood for election as incoming vice-chair having been encouraged again by Julie and I was elected and have now completed three years as co-chair. I am outgoing vice-chair now and leave the co-chairing in the capable hands of Yaz and Jo.
For me this community is a vital network where I know I can share my practice and that of others and be part of a community always willing to support, encourage, challenge but most of all be passionate about educational development and enhancing student learning through developing those who support students.
Pam Parker (Principal Fellow HEA & Senior Fellow SEDA, Outgoing Co-Chair of SEDA)
About the author
Professor Pam Parker is Deputy Director at the Department for Learning Enhancement And Development (LEAD), City, University of London