The programme leader is responsible for ensuring a coherent programme of study is designed and delivered by a diverse collection of academic colleagues. It is arguably one of the most crucial roles in HE (Lawrence and Ellis, 2018).
Working within institutional structures, leading, managing and bringing together academic and professional service colleagues (Lafoe et al, 2013) while addressing various stakeholder requirements and quality assurance process can be difficult (Zutshi et al, 2013) and isolating (Cahill et al, 2015) at the best of times. In the age of COVID 19, where constant change and uncertainty reigns, where the practical and pastoral support needs of staff and students are intense, this kind of educational leadership is all the more demanding.
The UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) was launched in 2011 to articulate expectations of those who teach or support learning in higher education. Since publication is has become the benchmark against which many institutional and sector-wide schemes of teaching recognition are measured. The SEDA Special ‘Doing a Good Job Well – Being Recognised as an Experienced, Professional Teacher in HE’ investigates how to engage with the UKPSF. Through five chapters it examines different aspects, with a particular focus on how to make the case for ‘Descriptor 3’.
The past 18 months have made the activity of critically considering and reflecting on our teaching practice more important than ever as the sector has been turned upside down with the wholesale adoption of online teaching approaches. In this SEDA Special, the authors briefly outline the current scholarship around reflective practice and offer different approaches for experienced and inexperienced teachers to interrogate their practice within their own context.
One thing is for certain; we will never forget 2020 and now, 2021! As we embarked on our Co-Editor duties for SEDA’s first Special on Wellbeing in Higher Education (HE) back in September 2019, we could not have begun to imagine how everyday life would dramatically change in a matter of months. At that time ‘wellbeing’ was already a ‘hot’ topic in HE, but as the Covid-19 pandemic progressed, we soon realised that our SEDA Special could not have been timelier!
As we connected with contributors from across the globe, we were all in unfamiliar lockdown territory but united in a shared vision to draw upon our wide-ranging knowledge, expertise, and experiences to ultimately provide insight and guidance on how best to support staff and students to achieve their wellbeing equilibrium. Moreover, we wanted to draw attention to valuable resources, and techniques for readers to consult as appropriate to their needs and interests.
As Freshers’ Week takes place at our institutions and we are welcoming a new cohort of students into our programmes, it seems timely to be writing about the topic of transition. This year more than ever, the need to facilitate a smooth transition back into the world of learning seems more pertinent than ever. Students face not just a new step up in terms of their studies but also a re-adjustment back to face-to-face teaching experiences.