Happy 30th Birthday, SEDA!

On May 19th 1993 SEDA was formed from a merger between the Standing Conference on Educational Development (SCED) and the Staff Development Group of the Society for Research into Higher Education SRHE SDG). Soon SEDA Scotland, Flexible Learning in Higher Education and the Association of Educational and Training Technology (which become the Learning Technology Group) linked with it. Also in 1993 SEDA was one of the founding associations of the International Consortium for Educational Development.

Over the last 30 years, SEDA has been at the forefront of activities, support, professional recognition and resources for those who lead and inspire change in higher education. Initially we worked mainly with those in formal ‘educational development’ roles but our SEDA community now embraces a wide range of colleagues working to improve learning and teaching in higher education including academics, learning technologists, librarians, learning developers, students and senior managers. To this end, we also have good relationships with other sector organisations such as ALT, Jisc, Advance HE and ALDinHE.

The nature of higher education has changed considerably in the last three decades with the introduction of fees, removal of the cap on student numbers and regulation through the Office for Students. SEDA has been a constant presence through these times of change and adapted its provision to ensure it remains up-to-date and relevant. This includes opportunities for sharing practice and networking through online and face-to-face events and communities of practice, the SEDA Fellowship Scheme for the professional recognition of those who support, lead and inspire educational change (and the soon-to-be-launched Student Partnership Impact Award), accreditation of courses through our Professional Development Framework, enabling scholarship through our grants and journal (Innovations in Education & Teaching International), other publications such as SEDA Specials, Papers, Focus, book series and our renown magazine Educational Developments.

As a charitable organisation, our mission is to enhance HE, through educational and professional development, for the benefit of students, staff and the wider public. SEDA does this by offering scholarly and accessible developmental resources and opportunities to everyone involved in positive educational change and innovation in HE.

We are also driven and guided by our underpinning Values:

  • Developing understanding of how people learn
  • Practising in ways that are scholarly, professional and ethical
  • Working with and developing learning communities
  • Valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity
  • Continually reflecting on practice to develop ourselves, others and processes.

Many of our activities are open access to enable the widest possible sharing, learning and development. In order to support our work as a charitable organisation we also encourage institutions and individuals to join SEDA as members which opens up further opportunities for networking, professional development through contributing to the work of SEDA (e.g. as committee members or at the AGM), resources and discounts on events and publications.

I have been involved with SEDA since I attended its December conference in 1996, an event which turned out to be a career-enhancing and -influencing experience a week into my first post-PhD job as manager for a HEFCE-funded project on Earth Science Staff Development. I’m delighted to be able to contribute back to an organisation that has given me so much over the years. I look forward to celebrating our 30th Birthday at our face-to-face conference on 19th May 2023 and to many more years working with and benefiting from the fabulous SEDA community.

Helen King is Professor & Director of Learning Innovation, Development & Skills at Bath Spa University and currently co-Chair of SEDA with Clare Saunders of St Mary’s University. She holds a Senior Fellowship of SEDA, a National Teaching Fellowship and is a Principal Fellow of the HEA. She also enjoys trail-running and playing Bluegrass banjo (though not at the same time!).


Twitter: @drhelenking

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drhelenking/

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