SEDA’s collaboration with the Erasmus+ Project, E-TALEB, with lead partner, USEK (Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon.
In February 2013, SEDA was approached by USEK (the Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik, Lebanon) to be a partner in a Tempus IV project ‘Framework for Professional Standards in Teaching and Learning Practices in Lebanon’ (FPSTLP). On behalf of SEDA, and in discussion with the then SEDA Co-Chairs, Mike Laycock submitted documentation expressing SEDAs willingness to contribute and what our expertise and role could be. Mike also nominated Liz Shrives and the SEDA Executive Committee agreed both as the SEDA representatives.
The proposal was submitted by USEK to Tempus in March 2013 but was not selected. However, USEK was then invited by the Lebanon Ministry of Education to launch the proposal again under the Erasmus+ scheme. On 12th February 2015 SEDA was informed that this bid had been successful and re-named the E-TALEB project. The project started on January 2016, has a number of European partners (from UK, Denmark, Germany and France) in addition to a number of Lebanese Universities, and will run for three years.
E-TALEB: Professional Standards Framework for Excellence in Teaching And Learning in Lebanese Universities
E-TALEB is aimed at developing a framework of Professional Standards in Teaching and Learning in HE for the Lebanon and to enable innovation and the exchange of good practices and experiences relevant to similar frameworks established in Europe. Its main objective is to support the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in teaching and to foster dynamic approaches to teaching and learning. It is intended to have high national impact, providing many outcomes including:
- Establishing a Professional Standards Framework in Teaching & Learning (LBPSF);
- Offering a Post-Graduate Certificate Programme in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education for Faculty members;
- Encouraging inter-university activities centered on training and educational programs;
- Creating Centres for Teaching Excellence inside each of the participating universities, supporting faculty and students in their teaching and learning activities;
- Supporting the universities in their accreditation programmes by having a formal process for teaching and learning;
- Developing human capital and talented experts in teaching and learning in the participating countries;
- Sustaining the competitiveness of Higher Education in Lebanon, the Middle East and participating EU countries;
- Publishing in Lebanese Journals on teaching and learning.
Specifically, the project aims to develop Faculty members teaching skills and students learning experience in Lebanon through a national framework of standards that will:
- Support the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in teaching and supporting learning;
- Foster dynamic approaches to teaching and learning through creativity, innovation and continuous development in diverse academic and/or professional settings;
- Create a community of researchers in different disciplines who share inter and intra university practices in teaching and learning;
- Acknowledge the variety and quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices that support and underpin student learning including instructional technology;
- Assist individuals and institutions in gaining formal recognition for quality enhanced approaches to teaching and supporting learning.
The work of SEDA in relation to E-TALEB
SEDA’s initial, proposed role in the project involved:
- offering advice and guidance to project members on each of the objectives and the development of a framework for professional standards giving examples of the ways in which, in particular, UK HEIs have addressed the UKPSF;
- providing formative and summative evaluation reports for the project including recommendations for sustaining development post-funding;
- support to develop a national educational development organization and thereby, an opportunity to gain membership of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED), to further support the development of the project objectives post-funding.
In the funded project plan SEDA will be involved in a number of project work-packages but was primarily responsible for Work Package 2 – leading the development of the Lebanese Professional Standards Framework (LBPSF) and completed by October 2016. This was principally concerned with:
- providing a workshop for the key persons from Lebanese partner institutions
- supporting the development of a draft Lebanese Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Learning
- engaging in a roundtable discussion of the LBPSF proposal
- involvement in the approval of the final proposal of Lebanese Framework of Professional Standards by the Lebanese Higher Education Ministry.
The Cambridge Workshop July 25th -28th, 2016
The workshop element of the work package was hosted and led by SEDA in the United Kingdom at Churchill College, University of Cambridge. All the Lebanese partners’ key staff and representatives from the EU partners consisting of: 3 trainers from UK (2 from SEDA, 1 from Roehampton University), 2 trainers from Germany (1 from Evalag, 1 from Hochschule Karlsruhe – Technik und Wirtschaft, University of Applied Sciences (HsKA)) attended). The workshop built on the Work package 1, which identified current learning and teaching practices in the Lebanese partner institutions (where the lead organisation is Roehampton University represented by Jo Peat).
The Cambridge workshop was very successful in enabling the project team to:
- consider the relevant outcomes of the E-Taleb work package 1 in developing a greater understanding the characteristics of higher education teaching in the Lebanon;
- explore current practices and developments of teaching standards and teaching enhancement in the UK, France and Germany in order to identify potential elements of the bespoke Lebanese framework and any other factors relevant to the Lebanese context;
- create and agree a draft bespoke framework of teaching standards;
- develop an insight and awareness of the challenges and good practice in launching the framework across the Lebanese sector.
Feedback from the residential workshop in Cambridge was highly positive.
Launching the LBPSF in the Lebanon, 2nd – 5th October 2016
The project lead University USEK (Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, subsequently refined the framework with the input from all project partners and held an event to launch the framework from 2nd to 5th October 2016. Liz Shrives and Mike Laycock from SEDA attended this event along with Jo Peat and representatives from all the other European partners. The main event, held (4th October) at Beirut Arab University (BAU), was primarily concerned with sharing the framework with senior government ministers and senior higher education representatives from the Lebanon but also included activities to identify an implementation plan led by SEDA. This concluded Work Package 3.
Workshop in Lyon (8th-10th March, 2017) – ‘Centres for Learning and Teaching’ – SEDA’s future involvement in Work Package 4
The next work package covers activity through to June 2017 and focuses on the development of capacity building programmes and will involve supporting institutional faculty teams in designing and delivering courses to incorporate the framework. Mike Laycock, Liz Shrives and Jo Peat from the University of Roehampton, have been invited to contribute to a workshop in Lyon hosted by the French partner, the Université Claude Bernard, France (8th-10th March, 2017). The workshop focuses on benchmarking and developing work plans for creating effective Centres for Learning and Teaching in Lebanese universities.
About the author
I have been a higher education consultant since 2007. I have spoken at national and international conferences, published widely, carried out much consultancy for UK HEIs, and undertaken many local, national and international staff development workshops on matters related to learning, teaching and assessment. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a member (and former Co-Chair) of the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA). I have been an external examiner for a range of universities and colleges including Portsmouth University’s work-based learning ‘Partnership Programme’ and the PGCert in Learning and Teaching and the University of Glamorgan. I am currently external examiner for the University of Chester’s Work-based and Integrative Studies programme.
As a consultant, I specialise in advising HEIs on aspects of teaching, learning and assessment but particularly on independent learning, work-based learning, and the development of personal tutoring systems. I have undertaken staff development in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore on behalf of Cranfield University and supported the development of a university in Jakarta in 2011.
In 2012, I evaluated the development of Service Learning programmes in universities in Jordan and Lebanon. During 2013-2014 I was engaged in evaluating the introduction of Human Rights courses in universities in the Western Balkans. Both of these projects have been EU funded and coordinated by Roehampton University.