22ND ANNUAL SEDA CONFERENCE

Developing Teaching Excellence: Supporting and Developing the Work of Groups and Teams

16 November 2017 - 17 November 2017

Location: The St David’s Hotel, Cardiff

Jane McNeil, Director of Academic Development, Nottingham Trent University


Jane McNeil is Director of Academic Development at Nottingham Trent University, where she has an institutional responsibility for educational development and quality management. Her experience as a history lecturer and an early interest in online learning evolved into a wider focus on learning and teaching enhancement. This was realised in subsequent roles, as Humanities learning and teaching co-ordinator and institutional lead for quality enhancement. Her current interests include innovative and disruptive pedagogies, technology, and learning spaces; all underpinned by a focus on strategic educational development aligned with enhancement-led quality management.

In 2013, Jane led the first institutional, multi-disciplinary SCALE-UP project in the UK. The NTU project found benefits for students’ conceptual understanding and overall attainment. Subsequent benefits have been realised in wider adoption, including influencing planning assumptions for the estate and challenging the dominance of lectures for large group teaching. Jane is now leading a HEFCE Catalyst funded project using active learning pedagogies at three institutions to address attainment disparities. 

Jane’s perspective on educational development has been shaped by her experience as a lecturer, as a practice innovator, and, latterly, as a policy developer. She is a Principal Fellow of the HEA.


Professor Debby Cotton, Head of Educational Development, PedRIO, University of Plymouth


Debby Cotton is Professor of Higher Education Pedagogy and Head of Educational Development in the Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO), University of Plymouth, UK. She is a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), and a National Teaching Fellow (NTF), and was selected to work as an assessor on the UK Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Debby has a doctorate from Oxford University, which focused on teaching controversial environmental issues. She has played a key role in the development of pedagogic research at Plymouth University for over 15 years, and was central to the development of PedRIO, one of the University’s eight research institutes. 

Debby is a popular invited speaker and has delivered workshops and keynotes on higher education in the Europe, China, the US and South Africa. She sits on the editorial board of three journals, has contributed to upwards of 25 projects on pedagogic research and development, and produced more than 70 publications on a wide range of HE teaching and learning issues including sustainability education, research-informed teaching, internationalisation of higher education, and inclusivity. She has recently been called upon to advise on educational development in China, and is engaged in collaborative research with academic colleagues at Zhejiang University and Fudan University. 

You can find out more about Debby’s work and publications here: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/debby-cotton

Professor Ruth Pickford, Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Leeds Beckett University


Professor Ruth Pickford is the Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching and a member of the Senior Management Group at Leeds Beckett University. A psychologist by education and a systems analyst by profession, much of Ruth's work focuses on the connections between processes and practices, and the relationships between people in higher education. She has led national projects on first year learning experiences and assessment, and co-written books on assessment and teaching. Her recent research interests include learning and teaching strategy, progression, and student engagement. Ruth's unusual take on higher education has led to many invitations to speak across the U.K., Australia and the USA. She is a National Teaching Fellow, Professor of Learning, Teaching and Assessment, and Principal Fellow of the HEA.
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