Welcome to May’s issue of Teaching Matters: Staff development

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Welcome to the May issue : Staff development

This month’s theme will showcase reflections and examples of staff development opportunities, initiatives, and practices taking place across the university. These practices aim to encourage, foster and celebrate staff achievements while providing opportunities to develop new skills, network with a wider teaching community, and share good practice. Some of these initiatives extend beyond developing purely pedagogical skills, such as the award schemes organised by the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Department that honour staff (and students) across the university who work towards advancing the university’s agenda of sustainability through various projects both inside and outside the classroom.

This month’s posts will focus on university-wide practices geared towards supporting staff development and recognising excellence in teaching. The Institute for Academic Development (IAD) endeavours year-round in crafting numerous workshops, events, resources and funding opportunities to reinforce professional development. For example, the intensive two-day Edinburgh Learning Design Roadmap (ELDeR) workshops, which are run collaboratively by facilitators from the Educational Design and Engagement Service and the IAD, offer teaching staff the space to delve deep into course design through team-based activities and peer feedback. In a previous post, Jon Jack, from the Educational Design and Engagement team, reflects on these workshops as he cycles to work. Moreover, departments across the university offer multiple Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities. These opportunities include, among others, the Edinburgh Teaching Awards (EdTA) or the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. In a post from 2016, Ben Goddard, from the School of Mathematics, shares his experience undertaking the EdTA. Another important staff development event is the annual Teaching and Learning Conference that brings students and staff together to share good and innovative practice around learning and teaching. Professor Amy Tui, inaugurated the first conference in 2018 as keynote speaker and reflected on its success in this guest post for Teaching Matters. These are just a few examples of some of the work taking place at the university around staff development, a more comprehensive look at the available opportunities and resources can be found on the Institute for Academic Development’s dedicated page.

This month’s posts will include contributions from:

  • Daphne Loads, recently retired Academic Lead for the Edinburgh Teaching Award at the Institute for Academic Development, who will share the seven things she learned from working in staff development. She’ll tell us why it’s more like gardening than golf, and why people are not potatoes. Stay tuned…
  • Deborah Holt, Bicentennial Fellow in the Moray House School of Education and Sport, will talk about the ‘Practice Worth Sharing’ initiative that she and colleagues launched after realising that lots of innovative and interesting work taking place across the school was not getting the attention it deserved. The aim of this initiative was to create a forum for discussion in which staff could meet and share ideas. Deborah and colleagues continuously share the fruits of these discussions in the ‘Spotlight on practice worth sharing’ series.
  • Emily Salvesen, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme Manager at the IAD, will talk about the value of the university’s CPD Framework as a scheme that recognises and appreciates the hard work of individual teachers.
  • Meanwhile, Inger Seiferheld and Mary Brennan, from the Business School, will tell us about the “Excellence in Teaching” Awards and Teaching Champion project…
  • And many more!

Previous Teaching Matters posts on staff development that you may find interesting are:

  • Jenny Scoles chatted with Lesley Balharry and Calum MacDonald about the opportunities for staff to apply to Go Abroad funding and build international academic communities.
  • This post on student-staff co-creation in which Meryl Kenny shares the lessons learned from working with students to co-create the course “Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World”.
  • And this contribution by Yi-Shan Tsai on blended learning design, an approach that teachers can learn more about in an upcoming free, online course

Happy reading!

Joséphine Foucher

Joséphine is doing a PhD in Sociology at The University of Edinburgh. Her research looks at the intersection between art and politics. She works with Jenny Scoles as the Teaching Matters Deputy Editor and Student Engagement Officer.

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