Monday, April 22, 2013

Make Some Noise

Quantifying the impact of Biosciences teaching After the HEA STEM conference in Birmingham last week (at which I did my usual practice of impressionistic live blogging/note taking via Tumblr) a number of people stayed on for a satellite meeting organized by the Society for Experimental Biology on The new teaching challenge: Quantifying the impact of Biosciences teaching. The meeting discussed four questions:
  1. What are examples are there of robust, recognisable evidence of teaching excellence?
  2. What criteria should be used to get promoted using teaching?
  3. How do we make Universities care about teaching excellence?
  4. How should we resource and support staff learning communities?

I'm not a "formal" member of SEB* and it was good to meet some new people, even though their names were already familiar. The nature of the discussions was very encouraging - including the fact that we didn't all agree on everything. I don't, for example, entirely agree with some approaches to key questions (I would like to see more emphasis on championing and protecting individuals), but this meeting was an important development in promoting the issues around SOTL. One viewpoint which caused some controversy was the need to take laboratory researchers with us rather than allowing walls to develop between "scientific" and "knowledge" workers. It was Friday afternoon and I suspect we were all tired, but this touched a raw nerve and is clearly something we will need to pay careful attention to.

I hope we will able to make practical progress on supporting pedagogic researchers. The meeting made me realize how lucky we are in Leicester with our PedR Group. Hopefully more people will be able to count on that type of support as we look ahead.

Assessing and rewarding excellent academic teachers for the benefit of an organization. (2013) European Journal of Higher Education: 1-22

*Formal in the sense that I don't pay membership fees, but I do talk to SEB members frequently, mostly via social media. Where does organizational membership stop and the individual begin, particularly in an age of social media-fostered disintermediation?

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