Building a strategy to support programme directors- lessons from Australia

This is the last blogpost in which I summarise some of the key findings from chapters in the book Supporting Course and Programme Leaders in Higher Education: Practical Wisdom for Leaders, Educational Developers and Programme Leaders, (SEDA, Routledge) (2022) edited by Jenny Lawrence, Susan Moron-Garcia and Rowena Senior. 

This post reflects on what we can learn from Chapter 3, in Part 1 on “Developing programme leadership in an Australian university” by Louise Maddocks et al. 


Griffiths University in south-eastern Australia is a multi-campus, research-intensive higher education institution. During 2014-2018, led by staff from its ‘Learning Futures’ Unit, colleagues embarked on developing and implementing a strategy to equip and empower Programme Directors (PDs) who are “responsible for the leadership and management of an academic programme”, Page 41).  This was part of wider strategic initiatives being implemented at Griffiths including:

  • defining a new role descriptor for PDs,
  • the establishment of key academic roles located centrally and within faculties,
  • a new quality ‘dashboard’ to provide key data about the programme, and
  • the implementation of a ‘Framework for Programme Quality and Programme Review’.


Following an extensive review of leadership literature (cited in the chapter) and several assumptions underpinning what they wanted their strategy to consider, their resultant strategy has the following ‘ecological’ stages:

Summary diagram showing the ecology of their programme leader strategy

Figure 1 Building Programme Leadership Strategy – Professional learning ecology – based on Maddocks et al (2022)

  • A set of induction workshops orienting Programme Leaders both new and experienced to their new role descriptor
  • A Leadership Series of leadership support and online modules.
  • A Programme Leaders Network established to practice, reflect and share experience
  • Guided Collaborative Action Learning/Action Research projects in Practice (e.g. curriculum development/enhancement/ sharing of programme level resources
  • Independent Collaborative Action Learning/Action Research projects in Practice

With progressively independent practices to support expertise in leading programmes as the final goal.

The chapter describes in a bit more detail each of the Leadership Series, Programme Leader’s Network and the Action Research Project stages.  The authors also summarise their evaluation of this strategy, with almost all respondents to their survey of PDs participating in the sessions confirming that the workshops within the Leadership Series were highly successful in providing foundational knowledge of leadership for learning, the knowledge of the role within the institutional context and the development of relationship and networks with other programme leaders.

There are more detailed reflections on the effectiveness of this approach in trying to support programme leaders become “agents of change”.  They concluded that the

 “Building Program leadership strategy has effectively enabled the creation of a professional learning ecology that supports individuals PLs in developing their identities and capabilities of learning and teaching” (page 50)


Why is this relevant to us in Swansea University?

A Programme Directors Working Group was established in February 2022 to scope how to better support those who fulfil this vital role within Swansea University.  The Group reported its findings about appropriate induction and ongoing CPD for Programme Directors at the PD Community Forum on December 7th 2022 and will be reviewing feedback to this in early 2023. 

There are several similarities with the approach Griffiths University has taken and what the Programme Director Working Group at Swansea is proposing. We can review aspects of this ‘ecology’ approach, learn from them and adapt approaches that will work in our context. The use of Action research groups is particularly appealing.

And its not just Griffiths University that can help guide our way. Other chapters in section 1 of this book outline how other institutions and indeed whole sectors (i.e. in Scotland) have approached the important issue of appropriate induction, ongoing support and appropriate reward and recognition for programme directors.  There is a rich evidence-base for us to use.

Recordings of the webinars hosted by OCAED regarding selected  book chapters are expected to be available from their website: 

Talking Teaching across the Globe – Oxford Brookes University 


Louise Rees

Senior Academic Developer (HEA), SALT

(1) Programme Leaders = Programme Directors at Swansea University

Building a Programme Leader network

This is the third blogpost in which I’m summarising some of the key findings from chapters in the book ‘Supporting Course and Programme Leaders in Higher Education: Practical Wisdom for Leaders, Educational Developers and Programme Leaders’, (SEDA, Routledge) (2022) edited by Jenny Lawrence, Susan Moron-Garcia and Rowena Senior.

This blogpost reflects on what we can learn from Chapter 5, in Part 1 on “Harnessing the potential of formal networks and informal communities to support the holistic development of programme leaders” by Graham Scott and Jenny Lawrence.


The Value of a Network 

This chapter summarises research into the positive aspects of being a Programme Leader (PL) that come from engaging in a centrally organised Forum or more local discipline specific network. 

Central-formal networks enables PLS to keep up with University-specific policy and strategy and to gain insights into wider sector issues.  It helps attendees to develop a positive professional identity as a programme leader and raises their profile with senior decision makers. 

Discipline based ‘communities of practice’ however helped to better understand the PL responsibilities, often from the input of prior PLs), develop collegiality and to signpost to school/faculty/institutional information sources to help with the role. 

There are clear benefits of establishing and encouraging networks at both scales. The chapter provides useful 6-point advice tips on developing both kinds of networks but recognising that there needs to be some flexibility on exact implementation. 

Selected tips for the central-formal network include: 

  • Ensure that the membership is kept updated, at minimum annually
  • Have dates of meetings ‘pushed’ into calendars of PLs
  • Have regular (e.g. monthly) for a at regular dates and times, some of which may be with decision makers
  • Have the topics for discussion originate from PLs as well as new initiatives 

For local-informal community of practices, they recommend 

  • These are established local by PLS and may usefully include PL ‘alumni’ for mentoring and hand-over
  • They might have an informal, regular communication stream (the research case involved Slack, for example)
  • Have regular, informal gatherings (e.g. over coffee) 

The chapter describes in more detail how they sought feedback from the PLs about what was working well. The central-formal network had ceased to effectively operate  

‘many abandoned events early citing the top-down transmission of process information unappealing’.   

Their efforts then to research what had been positive aspects and what the PLS wanted, informed the shape of their re-launched network in 2018/19. 

Why is this relevant to us in Swansea University? 

A Programme Directors Working Group was established in February 2022 to scope how to better support those who fulfil this vital role within Swansea University.  The Group reported its findings about appropriate induction and ongoing CPD for Programme Directors at the PD Community Forum on December 7th 2022 and is reviewing feedback from the proposals. 

One key aspect is ongoing CPD and indeed what the Forum should cover and continue to operate.  For those supporting the central-formal network, the chapter has more detailed insights on what pitfalls to avoid, how to make the network a positive, vibrant community which helps to build esteem and recognition for the role, to prevent the role of PL being ‘isolating’ (Ellis and Nimmo, 2018), a ‘career killer’ (Cahill et al, 2015) and making the PL role, one of worth and value (Robinson-Self, 2020). 

But its also helpful for schools or faculties to consider how local networks of PLs might work and the nature of, for example, the School Education Forum.   

Watch out for other synopses of this great book in supporting Programme Directors over the coming weeks and the seminar series by OCAED and SEDA to support the book. 

Recordings of the webinars are expected to be available from their website: 

Talking Teaching across the Globe – Oxford Brookes University 


Louise Rees 

Senior Academic Developer (HEA), SALT 

(1) Programme Leaders = Programme Directors at Swansea University 



Cahill J., Bowyer J. Rendell, C. Hammond, A. and S. Korek (2015) “An exploration of how programme leaders in higher education can be prepared and supported to discharge their roles and responsibilities effectively”, Educational Research, 57 (2), pp 272-286.  

Ellis S. and A. Nimmo (2018) “Opening eyes and changing mind-sets: professional development for programme leaders.”  In Lawrence J. and Ellis, S. (Eds), Supporting programme leaders and programme leadership, SEDA Special 39. London: Staff and Educational Development Association, pp. 36-39. 

Robinson-Self P. (2020) “The practice and policies of programme leadership: between strategy and teaching”, Potter J. and Devicci C. (eds) Delivering Educational Change in HE, UK: Routledge 


Building shared understanding – a Programme Roadmap

road sign

This is the second blogpost which summarises some of the key findings from chapters in the book Supporting Course and Programme Leaders in Higher Education: Practical Wisdom for Leaders, Educational Developers and Programme Leaders, (SEDA, Routledge) (2022) edited by Jenny Lawrence, Susan Moron-Garcia and Rowena Senior. 

It reflects on what we can learn from Case study 10, in Part 3 on “Facilitating educational leadership; building and sharing an understanding amongst the programme team” by Eva Malone and Stephen Yorkstone. 


Juggling frantically, trying to keep all balls in the air 

Eva Malone is programme leader for a range of undergraduate programmes accredited by the Royal Society of Biology at Edinburgh Napier University. Collectively these programmes comprise 37 modules and have approximately 500 students enrolled at any one time. 

In this case study she outlines how after feeling quite overwhelmed by dealing with the minutiae of programme management and trying to keep multiple balls up in the air, she enlisted support for the staff of their Business Improvement Unit to help with the task.

Steve Yorkstone assisted Eva in applying a ‘lean management’ approach first to the arduous process of allocating markers on a complex research project module. She later enlisted his help in applying the RACI model to the programme leader role and responsibilities not just for her but of the wider programme team. 

They, with the programme administrator, quickly brainstormed the tasks and roles or teams involved in delivering their suite of programmes. Having input from the administrator was invaluable since it both brought in a distinct perspective but have insight into the interactions with professional services teams. 

The output was an Excel Workbook (their ‘Programme RoadMap’) to which they applied the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) matrix (Project Management Institute 2013) but also added in ‘Uninvolved’ and ‘Participating’ categories to enable responsibility to be allocated to individuals, but for the contributions of the wider team members to be acknowledged (or otherwise!). 

Alongside the tasks, deadlines for completion were allocated and this enables the review and management of activities according to peaks and troughs and consider re-scheduling. All members of the team have access to the Excel Workbook and using simply sort and filter functions, enables individuals to isolate their own and/or related tasks. 

The impact on Eva as Programme Leader? 

There were enormous practical and personal benefits of the RoadMap for Eva. Some of these are outlined below: 

  • Acted as an Aide Memoire
  • Feel Less Overwhelmed 
  • Informs Meeting agendas
  • Reinforces Value of the team 
  • Helps succession planning
  • Frees up her ‘memory’ to be more creative and instigate educational leadership 

This Case Study was discussed further at the OAECD seminar series on 29th November 2022 and Steve generously shared the Excel Workbook for others to adapt (with a request for attribution and feedback on the usefulness of the tool).  

Both he and Eva stress that the Roadmap needs to be customised and shouldn’t be seen as a blueprint for adoption by programme teams without further consideration. As a ‘spreadsheet’ it may strike fear into many unfamiliar with the features of Excel, and so adoption and implementation needs to be supported and endorsed for all to benefit from it. 

I have a copy of the Excel Workbook should anyone wish to brainstorm their own activities, amend it and consider whether this tool may help them feeling overwhelmed by the volume of tasks. 

Why is this relevant to us in Swansea University? 

A Programme Directors Working Group was established in February 2022 to scope how to better support those who fulfil this vital role within Swansea University.  The Group reported its findings about appropriate induction and ongoing CPD for Programme Directors at the PD Community Forum on December 7th 2022 and will be reviewing feedback to this in early 2023. 

One of the outcomes and recommendations of the PD Working Group was to refine Swansea’s role descriptor and to enhance the existing ‘timeline’ to be an interactive resource (with links to the relevant policies, procedures) and also to develop a version for programmes not with a September start date.  

Eva notes that even though she has a role descriptor and checklist, she still needed “clarity around the tasks that were to be completed and focus on what was required and when” and the Roadmap (Excel Workbook) enables her to achieve that need. 

This Excel Workbook ‘template’ could be a very useful supplement to our existing resources and I’d encourage anyone who wants to consider adapting it for their own circumstances, to get in touch! 

Recordings of the webinars are expected to be available from their website: 

Talking Teaching across the Globe – Oxford Brookes University 


Louise Rees 

Senior Academic Developer (HEA), SALT 



Project Management Institute (2013) A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Project Management Institute.

See RACI Matrix | Understanding Responsibility Assignment Matrix ( for a quick explanation of RACI

Being an Effective Programme Director

man juggling items on first

Why is considering leadership approaches helpful?  

I’ve been championing the important role of programme directors for almost 10 years, previously in my capacity as head of the Quality Office in Academic Services and recently resurrected in my role within SALT supporting professional recognition through Advance HE’s Fellowship scheme.  I see many colleagues struggle to articulate successful ‘leading’ when they make their claim for Senior Fellowship and see the value of providing the support BEFORE many indeed take on or inherit the programme director role.   

I also hear stories of the challenges of juggling and almost literally firefighting that are epitomised in both research literature and blogposts of everyday realities (see for example Emma Kennedy’s recent account 

I can see the value of reflecting on my own ‘small l’ leadership as I prepare my own claim for Senior Fellowship recognition. Many of the characteristics I can see myself demonstrating, yet I didn’t know that these were ‘recommended approaches’ of effective leadership.  Donald Rumsfeld (then Secretary of Defense of the United States) said in a February 12 2022 press briefing  

“[A]s we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”  

The literature about effective leadership falls into that unknown unknown category for me. 

What are effective leadership strategies for Programme Directors? 

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be summarising some of the key findings from chapters in the book Supporting Course and Programme Leaders in Higher Education: Practical Wisdom for Leaders, Educational Developers and Programme Leaders, (SEDA, Routledge) (2022) edited by Jenny Lawrence, Susan Moron-Garcia and Rowena Senior. 

This post reflects on what we can learn from Doug Parkin’s chapter 6, in Part 2 on “Programme leaders as educational and academic leaders”. 

Some questions about leadership…. 

As Programme Director, how do you lead your team? 

  • What are the qualities of effective Programme Directors?  How do you know what is effective? 
  • What ‘training’ or guidance did you receive in effective leadership approaches? 
  • How DO you keep juggling (even when the issues aren’t “on fire” as in the featured picture)? 

Dimensions of Programme Leadership 

In his chapter, Doug Parkin outlines four aspects of leadership that he feels enables programme directors [1] to develop credibility and demonstrate trust so 

“that colleagues are inspired and trusted to innovate their practice routinely, deliver teaching inclusively and provide feedback for learning conscientiously” (Parkin 2022, p 97) 

These are 

  • Relational Leadership 
  • Embodied Leadership
  • Enabling Leadership and
  • Administrative Leadership. 

model of programme leadership comprising relational, embodied, enabling and administrative leadership interpreted from Doug Parkin's description - administrative leadership is disproportionately represented

Figure 1 Four dimensions of programme leadership – interpreted from Parkin (2022)

It’s a useful chapter not just for programme directors, but for anyone who is ‘small l’ leading and is therefore considering how their practice of supporting others best demonstrates the tricky Senior Fellow criterion of ‘Successful coordination, support, supervision, management and/or mentoring of others (whether individuals and/or teams) in relation to learning and teaching’ UKPSF, 2011, D3 Vii.  While ‘leadership’ isn’t explicitly mentioned in this criterion, its often inherent as staff reflect and evidence how they effectively engage and support colleagues to achieve a shared objective that enhances student learning. 

The chapter gives examples of what each of the other leadership styles might look like in practical terms for programme leaders (e.g. having a network of fellow Programme Directors to support relational leadership; modelling examples and active listening in showing embodied leadership) and also how institutions can enable the leadership through, for example, appropriate recognition of the value of the role, ongoing development for programme leaders, setting and clearly sharing the key vision and supporting communication with others. 

Too often it’s the administrative side of the Programme Director role that takes up the most time as suggested in my adapted Figure 1 and role holders get increasingly disillusioned and frustrated that they can’t necessarily do the staff support and pedagogical enhancements they’d like to.  In providing administrative leadership, the relationship with professional services staff is critical to freeing the time of Programme Directors and ensuring that administrative matters can run smoothly.  

Therefore, in the bedding down of the revised Faculty structure, we have the opportunity now to share the values of the programme and the administrative burden and to support Programme Directors to lead in effective learning, teaching and assessment practices in a more balanced way where the leadership dimensions can be applied more equitably (see Figure 2). 

A more balanced model of leadership (relational. embodied, enabling and administrative) overlapped in Venn diagram. Interpreted from Doug Parkin's description

Figure 2 A more balanced model of the 4 dimensions of programme leadership

And if we know what makes for effective programme leadership, why aren’t these qualities built into person specifications to get the most effective person for the role and appropriate CPD offered to support staff to gain the transferable skills?

An Institutional response 

A Programme Directors Working Group was established in February 2022 to scope how to better support those who fulfil this vital role within Swansea University.  The Group reported its findings about appropriate induction and ongoing CPD for Programme Directors at the PD Community Forum on December 7th, 2022, and feedback is being reviewed and next steps developed. 

Part of the remit has been to explore continual professional learning opportunities regarding ‘leadership’ and members of the Group made specific recommendations on this.  Contributing to that will be my recommendation that exploring the types of leadership as suggested by Parkin should be a key aspect to support professional development of Programme Directors.  And not just upon appointment.   

To be effective and address what Ellis (2019, p31) identifies as critical transition period “the months either side of becoming a programme leader have emerged as of central importance”, CPD in effective leadership skills should be available to all, to prepare staff to effectively lead programmes to provide an excellent student learning experience. 

Watch out for other synopses of this useful book in supporting Programme Directors over the coming weeks and the seminar series by OCAED and SEDA to support the book. 

Recordings of the seminars are expected to be available from their website: 

Talking Teaching across the Globe – Oxford Brookes University 



Louise Rees 

Senior Academic Developer (HEA), SALT 

(1) Programme Directors at Swansea University = Programme Leaders in the SEDA book 

Make 2022/23 your year to gain HEA Fellowship Recognition

sunflowers field
sunflowers field
Sunflowers – Image by Siggy Novak on Pixabay

What are you planting today to harvest tomorrow?  Lailah Gifty Akita

The last 2 to 3 years have been a real challenge, but also meant a lot of changes and innovations in teaching practice. If you do not currently hold a category of HEA Fellowship, then make 2022-23 the year to complete an application. Consider what you have done the last 3 academic years and what you will be doing this academic year and how that experience can be harvested to gain HEA Fellowship.

Watch our for regular encouragement from SALT’s Recognition Team to plant the first seeds of your Fellowship claim.

More information about gaining HEA Fellowship recognition at Swansea University can be found here.


Preparing to teach (again) – Top Tips to get you back in the swing

We hope that you were able to recharge your batteries over the summer and so may be starting to think about your teaching for this coming semester.

Here’s some easy, concise tips and suggestions of how you might review what and how you teach or provide support to your learners.

Some Fundamentals

  • Review your syllabus – check out the learning outcomes, content and assessment. In particular make sure that Week 1 is planned really well and that materials are engaging, inclusive and accessible.
  • You might record the assignment task and criteria in a video – click this link to self-enrol on a course to explore using Studio in Canvas. You’ll probably cover the assignment expectations in class, but this will be an easy ‘go to’ resource to signpost to students.

The TEL Team within SALT is offering a range of sessions to help get your content ready on Canvas.  Visit: Get Ready for 2022/23 – Swansea University

  • Find out about your students – how many might be enrolled, their backgrounds (e.g. mature/international/visual or learning impairments). This information will help to inform you of any adaptations necessary to have relevant examples/case studies and suitable approaches and materials.
  • What learning spaces have you been allocated and/or what are possible other spaces you can use? We’d recommend you visit and familiarise yourself with the teaching spaces, and the equipment, if possible before you teach. Check out the centrally bookable room images on Flickr: Learning Environments’s albums | Flickr
  • Refamiliarise yourself with your teaching methods (SALT can help with e.g. using podcasts or Flipped Learning approaches – see our webpage: Pedagogy – Swansea University).
  • Look (again) at past module evaluations for practices to improve – but take a long perspective and don’t respond necessarily to possible ‘fads’.
  • Try not to leave things to the last minute! Your tone of voice and presentation for audio/video resources can be negatively impacted when you are under time pressures. (For other tips, review this excellent resource: Top 10 Tips for accessible, engaging video microlectures (

Delving a bit deeper:

  • Get peer feedback – as a one-off or as an ongoing activity.
  • Investigate what professional development courses are available that would help hone your skills? SALT’s programme can be booked via our Forthcoming events: but there may be other sessions available organised through the University’s Department for Training Services, at School/Faculty level or via your subject or professional body.
  • Review resources you have previously highlighted. Remember all those ‘likes’, bookmarked web pages or articles you emailed to yourself to look at? Time to read priority ones.
  • Keep reflecting on your teaching – as you teach, make notes on your slides/handouts/ keep a ‘teacher’s diary’. This activity will be particularly helpful for HEA fellowship claims/remaining in good standing and for PDR/promotion.

Engaging with your learners

  • Think about how you can engage your students and harness enthusiasm for your course. If you’re still teaching online, we have various Tips or you can use a range of active learning approaches or engagement activities in person or online.
  • Share your teaching philosophy – explain why the course is designed as it is and why certain aspects reflect professional requirements.
  • Ask students about what their goals are and find out their prior knowledge on your subject – you can then tailor activities and build connections.
  • Set clear expectations of both self and students and you might want to consider jointly developed rules or assignment tasks (co-created activities)
  • Think about how you might build community among your learners, introduce ice breakers and make it fun e.g. a PADLET to collect photos/favourite music

Connecting with your team

  • Get to know colleagues who teach or support learning on your course – including those in professional services such as student experience advisers, subject librarians, technology enhanced learning staff to support one another and provide a great programme level experience for your students.

SALT can help!

If you need help with any of the above, please get in touch with us in SALT: or via our website: Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) – Swansea University


The above suggestions reflect a combination of ‘crowd sourced’ suggestions via Twitter in August 2022 combined with the 2021 blogpost by Alexandra Mihai: Time to reboot and start the new semester ( – her blogpost has some suggestions specific to teaching again in the pandemic and includes more links to further resources.

Word version of the above post: Preparing to teach blogpost Sep 2022

Challenging times or just an opportunity? | Cyfnod heriol neu gyfle yn unig?

Professor Martin Stringer was born in Tanzania educated in the North of England and currently the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at Swansea UniversitySouth West Wales. Martin has been in higher education for just over 20 years and in his own words, he joined the profession, primarily through the love of teaching. He affirms that, the engagement with students, challenging their assumptions, and watching their growth in critical skills and knowledge, continues to give him a buzz. Leaving the University of Birmingham in 2015, Professor Stringer joined Swansea University as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, where he has the massive responsibility for learning and teaching and student experience. He continues to place, increasing student voice and putting students at the centre of all decisions around learning and teaching, and their welfare, at the heart of what he does. The concept of interdisciplinary work and inclusivity is threaded through all the successful projects Martin has been involved in, from his theological work to his responsibilities in his current role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for education at Swansea. In this episode, Martin talks to us about some of these things.


Martin Stringer

Ganed Yr Athro Martin Stringer yn Nhanzania a addysgwyd yng Ngogledd Lloegr ac ar hyn o bryd yr Uwch Ddirprwy Is-ganghellor Dros Addysg ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe De Orllewin Cymru Mae Martin wedi bod mewn addysg uwch ers ychydig dros 20 mlynedd ac yn ei eiriau ei hun, ymunodd â’r proffesiwn, yn bennaf drwy gariad at addysgu. Mae’n cadarnhau, mae’r ymgysylltu â myfyrwyr, herio eu rhagdybiaethau, a gwylio eu twf mewn sgiliau a gwybodaeth feirniadol, yn parhau i roi gwefr iddo. Gan adael  Prifysgol Birmingham yn 2015, ymunodd yr Athro Stringer â Phrifysgol Abertawe fel Dirprwy Is-ganghellor, lle mae ganddo’r cyfrifoldeb enfawr dros ddysgu ac addysgu a phrofiad myfyrwyr. Mae’n parhau i osod, cynyddu llais myfyrwyr a rhoi myfyrwyr wrth wraidd pob penderfyniad ynghylch dysgu ac addysgu, a’u lles, wrth wraidd yr hyn y mae’n ei wneud. Mae’r cysyniad o waith rhyngddisgyblaethol a chynwysoldeb yn cael ei edafu drwy’r holl brosiectau llwyddiannus y mae Martin wedi bod yn ymwneud â’u gwaith diwinyddol, o’i waith diwinyddol i’w gyfrifoldebau yn ei rôl bresennol fel Dirprwy Is-ganghellor dros addysg yn Abertawe. Yn y bennod hon mae Martin yn siarad â ni am rai o’r pethau hyn.



Inspiration from others | Ysbrydoliaeth gan Eraill

shaking hands through a laptopI attended the University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching conference on 15th June. They opened their first day to outsiders which was a nice taster of what was to come over the three-day event. Opened by their dignitaries, to be expected, which was interesting and heartening to hear the similarities in our institutions over the last year’s hard graft by staff and students. They too celebrated their HEA fellows and encouraged others to engage with their process.

The two keynote speakers that followed were excellent and generated lots of discussion on the webinar Q&A. The first was “Curriculum Considerations In Supercomplex Times” from Kerri-Lee Krause who is Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Avondale University College, Australia (UoE’s VP is from Australia so there was a connection). This was a very interesting discussion and sharing of her research into transforming the curriculum. She posed 4 questions: Q1 What is Curriculum Transformation? Q2 Why bother about is Curriculum Transformation? Q3 Who is leading Curriculum Transformation? And Q4 How will you engage with Curriculum Transformation? She encouraged us all to answer them either in the chat or just on paper. I tweeted the questions and then added my personal response. I thought that it would be interesting for us as a team to respond, even without listening to @kerrileekrause presentation I think it would be an excellent exercise for us all to consider as we are all academic developers. You can find my tweets @mandyjjack the direct links to each question tweets are above.

The second keynote Rowena Arshad, Professor Emerita and Personal Chair of Multicultural and Anti-Racist Education, University of Edinburgh, “Diversity in Learning and Teaching: Is Inclusion Truly Available?” This was a very powerful address where Rowena discussed a more holistic approach. The key points she discussed:

  1. Inclusive – and the need to considers the diversity of learners, the ethos of the space, the language, curriculum content, and pedagogic approaches.
  2. Antiracist – the challenges of it, the values and structures that perpetuate systematic racism.
  3. Decolonising the curriculum – and the need to critically examine the power and the history. That it isn’t simply adding a varied range of sources in our reading lists. It is not just about adding diversity, but learning from different perspectives, and about a different, more collective vision.

I couldn’t attend in the afternoon, but here is the link to their blog there are some interesting titles and some have useful links within their blurb that may be work a look. If the recording to the keynotes is distributed I’ll add it.


shaking hands through a laptopGwnes i fynychu cynhadledd Dysgu ac Addysgu Prifysgol Caeredin ar 15 Mehefin. Roedd y diwrnod cyntaf ar agor i bobl o’r tu allan a oedd yn rhagflas hyfryd o’r hyn a oedd i ddod yn ystod y digwyddiad dros dridiau. Agorwyd y gynhadledd gan eu pobl bwysig hwy, a oedd i’w ddisgwyl, ac roedd yn ddiddorol ac yn galonogol clywed y pethau tebyg yn ein sefydliadau dros y flwyddyn anodd ddiwethaf o waith caled gan staff a myfyrwyr. Roedden nhw hefyd yn dathlu eu Cymrodorion yr Academi Addysg Uwch gan annog eraill i gymryd rhan yn eu proses.

Roedd y ddau brif siaradwr a ddilynodd hyn yn rhagorol gan ysgogi llawer o drafodaeth yn y sesiwn holi ac ateb. Y cyflwyniad cyntaf oedd “Curriculum Considerations In Supercomplex Times” gan Kerri-Lee Krause sy’n Brofost ac yn Uwch Ddirprwy Is-ganghellor yng Ngholeg Prifysgol Avondale, Awstralia (daw Is-ganghellor Prifysgol Caeredin hefyd o Awstralia, felly roedd cysylltiad). Roedd hi’n drafodaeth hynod ddiddorol gan rannu ei hymchwil ym maes trawsnewid y cwricwlwm. Gofynnodd 4 cwestiwn: C1 Beth yw Trawsnewid y Cwricwlwm? C2 Pam mae eisiau Trawsnewid y Cwricwlwm? C3 Pwy sy’n arwain Trawsnewid y Cwricwlwm? A C4 Sut byddwch chi’n cyfranogi gyda Thrawsnewid y Cwricwlwm? Gwnaeth ein hannog ni i gyd i’w hateb naill ai yn y sgwrs neu ar bapur. Gwnes i drydaru’r cwestiynau ac yna ychwanegu fy ymatebion personol. Roeddwn yn meddwl y byddai’n ddiddorol i ni fel tîm ymateb, hyd yn oed heb wrando ar gyflwyniad @kerrileekrause, roeddwn yn meddwl y byddai’n ymarfer rhagorol i ni oll ei ystyried gan ein bod i gyd yn ddatblygwyr academaidd. Gallwch ddod o hyd i’m trydarau yn @mandyjjack, mae’r dolenni uniongyrchol i bob cwestiwn uchod.

Yr ail brif siaradwr oedd Rowena Arshad, Athro Emeritws a Chadair Bersonol Addysg Amlddiwylliannol a Gwrth-hiliol, Prifysgol Caeredin, “Diversity in Learning and Teaching: Is Inclusion Truly Available?” Roedd hwn yn anerchiad pwerus iawn lle bu Rowena’n trafod ymagwedd fwy cyfannol. Dyma’r prif bwyntiau allweddol y gwnaeth eu trafod:

  1. Cynhwysol – a’r angen i ystyried amrywiaeth dysgwyr, ethos gofod, yr iaith, cynnwys y cwricwlwm ac ymagweddau addysgegol
  2. Gwrth-hiliol – ei heriau, a gwerthoedd a strwythurau sy’n gadael i hiliaeth systematig barhau.
  3. Dad-drefedigaethu’r Cwricwlwm – a’r angen i archwilio pŵer a hanes yn feirniadol. Nid ychwanegu ystod amrywiol o ffynonellau at ein rhestrau darllen yn syml yw hyn. Nid ychwanegu amrywiaeth yw hyn chwaith ond dysgu o safbwyntiau gwahanol ac am weledigaeth wahanol ac y cyd.

Doeddwn i ddim yn gallu bod yn bresennol yn y pnawn, ond dyma ddolen i’w blog mae teitlau diddorol iawn a rhai dolenni hynod ddefnyddiol yn yr wybodaeth a allai fod o fudd ichi. Os bydd y recordiad o’r prif siaradwyr yn cael ei ddosbarthu, bydda i’n ei ychwanegu.[:]

Evidencing Learning – TweetChats, ‘Lurking’ and the Value of Reflection

Providing evidence of undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD)(1) or Continual Professional Learning (CPL) especially for HEA Fellowship claims (any category) can resort to a list of courses attended (in person/online). While certainly applauding an ongoing commitment to keeping practice up to date and having enough time to engage in numerous CPD opportunities, providing a list (bullet points or in sentence format) does not necessarily evidence the learning.

The important part is to take stock and reflect on ‘how can I apply what I’ve learnt?’ and if you did ‘what did I learn from that experience?’ ‘What worked well, what might need improvement?’ This demonstrates how you use evidence informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and CPD to enhance your practice (V3 of the UK Professional Standards Framework.)

Evidencing engagement in your Twitter PLN and through Tweetchats have been questions asked of prospective HEA Fellowship applicants. And that in turn has led to a wider consideration of evidencing learning.

  • Is evidence of engagement through responses to the Questions as captured in the Storify/Wakelet sufficient?
  • What if you didn’t actively contribute (2) but afterwards reviewed in greater detail the responses to the questions, refined the answers down to what might you felt was appropriate to your own practice?
  • Does that ‘count’ and if so, how can you evidence it?

Recently, I came across a reflective post using Pebblepad software about evidencing engagement in Tweetchats that I had found a few years ago but had forgotten about!

The recommendations there from David Eddy (@sonofedd) about spending a few moments to jot down your key takeaway message from the Tweetchat is so valuable. As are his observations that if you are engaging/watching, you are building your Personal Learning Network and sharing ideas on effective practice. That’s been so true for me.

As an educator, you can also initiate a subject-based Tweetchat perhaps in lieu of a Q&A session…and perhaps ask all students to produce a ‘reflection’ on key points learnt to enable any ‘non active’ participants to demonstrate their key learning ‘take aways’ – written/audio/video formats perhaps?

This in turn enables participants to demonstrate a great range of ‘deeper’ learning including consolidation, critical thinking and analysis that just ‘contributing’ during the live event may not. It would also address the ‘lurker’, ‘quiet thinker’ or ‘introvert’, acknowledging various ways in which we learn (K3). The ‘reflection’ aspect could address much of the discussion over the past year of trying to demonstrating ‘engagement’ or ‘interaction’ online (synchronously or asynchronously) as a proxy for demonstrating learning (see work of Bozhurt et al, Cain and Honeychurch in the Exploring Further section).

There are a few TweetChats in Higher Education: #LTHEChat and #CoachingHE are ones I follow (not necessarily participate every time), I will look at the curated Wakelet afterwards though if I think the topic may be of relevance to my needs). But there may ones in your specific discipline and so following key people, relevant hashtags and curating tweets, e.g. using Wakelet will help you cope with what can be a high volume of rapid exchanges!

So, returning to the issue of evidencing your own continuing professional learning, perhaps you may want to be selective about what CPD/CPL opportunities you DO engage with and critically review your practice first. What would you like to improve, before choosing CPL activities possibly based on ease/availability? Don’t forget that CPL can be asynchronous or synchronous, individual or a shared learning experience with others (Ferman, 2002). And most importantly, reflect on the impact on your practice afterwards.


(1) A5 of the Dimensions of Practice of the UK Professional Standards Framework
(2) Often called ‘lurking’ or ‘vicarious learning’, this, often “silent engagement”, does not mean that ‘participants’ aren’t learning because they aren’t contributing to the live TweetChat. There are lots of reasons why participants may be hesitant or unable to contribute ‘live’, including imposter phenomenon – Clance and Imes, 1978).

Exploring Further

About Advance HE and the UKPSF – see SALT’s pages: About Advance HE and UKPSF – Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching

Cain S. (2012) Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop talking, Penguin Books

Clance, P.R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). ‘The impostor phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention’, Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15(3), 241-24. Available from: Dr. Pauline Rose Clance – IMPOSTOR PHENOMENON specifically: 4.3.7-6-IP-High Achieving Women.doc (

Bozhurt A.; A. Koutropoulous, L. Singh and S. Honeychurch (2020) ‘On lurking: Multiple perspectives on lurking within an educational community’, The Internet and Higher Education, Vol 44, Article 100709.

Ferman T., (2002) ‘Academic professional development practice: What lecturers find valuable’, International Journal for Academic Development, 7(2), 146- 158.

Honeychurch S. (2018) – (@NomadWarMachine) Reclaiming Lurking | NomadWarMachine Blogpost of 12th September 2018

TweetChat Resources #LTHEchat | The weekly Learning and Teaching in HE chat created by the community for the community – Wednesday 8-9pm – you can access the previous blogposts and wakelets following these chats in the Programme>Archived Tweetchats

CoachingHE Chat: #CoachingHE | SDF – Staff Development Forum

What is a Tweetchat? See What is a tweechat? – Technology enhanced learning (