Doing a good job well – being recognised as an experienced professional teacher in HE

As Educational Developers, we have dedicated considerable energies towards the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) for new lecturers, introducing them to the principles of reflective practice to support them in mastering their craft.  However, until relatively recently the CPD of experienced academics, such as Programme Leads, Directors of Learning and Teaching and Heads of Schools, was often overlooked.  The re-launch of the UK Professional Standards Framework in 2011 changed this – it focused attention of the recognition of these essential HE professionals, as it created a space through which formal recognition could be afforded for their contributions in teaching and supporting student learning.

In this SEDA Special ‘Doing a good job well – being recognised as an experienced professional teaching in HE’ we open up a space through which experienced academics, and educational developers, can consider what it is that they do that involves them working with students, with colleagues and on their own development to ensure their practice is up to date and informed by scholarship.   For experienced academics and for educational developers appropriate recognition might be linked to Descriptor 3 of the UKPSF. This encourages professionals to reflect on achievements and activities they have been involved with over the recent past, including opportunities they have had, for example, to influence the work of others, shape disciplinary or institutional practices, and mentor colleagues.

Drawing on the expertise of experienced educational developers, the SEDA Special constructs the process of gaining recognition as a journey of scholarly reflection and re-examination of professional practice.  We encourage the reader to consider how they reached their current position of leadership and influence, and the milestones and achievements that have been integral to that,  as well as key learning points they have negotiated.  These are the ingredients at the core of practice at this level, which we should celebrate through this process of seeking recognition.  The reflective process of writing and considering our work in relation to scholarship can also lead to new ideas emerging.

The SEDA Special comprises five chapters:

  • An opening chapter by Sally Brown uses top tips and vignettes to explore a sustained track record in teaching and supporting learning and also explores the UKPSF’s origins and intent.
  • Gina Wisker, Jane Pritchard and Jackie Potter explore the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) as an underpinning element of professional practice for experienced staff and educational developers and tabulates a range of activities that comprise the SoTL project as enacted by individuals.
  • Ruth Pilkington unpicks what leadership means in the context of Descriptor 3, highlighting the often informal, hidden, fluid (or even unsung) nature of leadership, and through this prompts self-reflection on leadership.  Ruth encourages the reader to question the agency exerted through leadership activities.
  • Jackie Potter and Sophie Bessant provide a practical overview of an approach to collate relevant evidence and to develop a reflective, scholarly narrative.
  • Finally, the last chapter by Jennie Winter, Lucy Spowart, Pauline Kneale and Rebecca Turner focuses on the ‘continuing’ aspect of CPD and discusses how future CPD can emerge from the recognition process and highlights three contemporary teaching and learning agendas that can contribute to new CPD developments.

In editing this Special we have sought to provide an accessible, go-to resource both Educational Developers, and experienced HE professionals, could draw on, to either support their own case for recognition or encourage others to gain recognition.  Far too often, we spend time focusing on the immediate pressures of the day-to-day, and don’t step back to consider what we achieved, the impacts we have had or to plan for the future.  Completing an application for recognition at this level encourages us to stop and take stock, and perhaps some of the ideas and suggestions this Special recommends could adopted as part of engaging in CPD for the future.

You can purchase SEDA Special 41, Doing a good job well – being recognised as an experienced professional teacher in HE here

Dr Becky Turner, Educational Developer, Teaching and Learning Support, University of Plymouth

Professor Jackie Potter, Head of the OCSLD and Deputy Director of HR, Oxford Brookes University

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