SEDA research & evaluation small grants – 2020 Grant holders

Grant Holder(s)Project Title & AbstractGrant Status
Roni BamberDo metrics measure up? The effect of L&T metrics on academic development

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Shelley Parr, Anita Laidlaw, Stephanie Bull, Alison CooperEducation Focused Academic Careers in Research Intensive Universities

The landscape of Higher Education in the UK is constantly changing and the proportion of academic staff on education focused (EF) contracts is currently rising. The aim of this research is to understand the current UK career pathway for an EF academic in a research intensive University. This will include developing our understanding of the experiences of EF academics, including factors which facilitate or are a barrier to career progression. Our study will be informed by two appropriate organizational psychology theories, Kanter’s structural theory of power within organisations and Feldman and Ng’s Career Mobility, Embeddedness and Success constructs. We will conduct semi-structured interviews with a sample of education focused academics at differing stages of their career at research intensive universities across the UK. Analysis will focus on clarifying current career structures for EF academics, barriers and facilitators to progression and perceptions of their career. A report will be circulated to all participating institutions, and results will be presented at appropriate conferences and published in academic journals to enhance the impact on practice within higher education institutions.
Penny Sweasey, Celia Popovic, John Paul Foxe, Elaine Fisher, Ruth Pilkington, Sarah Wilson-MedhurstLongitudinal Evaluation of SLEC: The Impact of Gaining FSEDA on individual participants.

It is timely to undertake a longitudinal evaluation of SLEC – currently graduates are canvassed for their evaluations as they leave the course, but there is no systematic way to evaluate the longer-term impact and benefit of taking part in the course.Through a combination of data analysis: a longitudinal overview of ‘end of course’ evaluations, a questionnaire to all previous applicants, scrutiny of SLEC participants who have / have not remained in good standing, and follow-up interviews, I would seek to identify any common themes and establish the extent to which participants are able to identify the long-term impact of taking part in SLEC and gaining SEDA Fellowship.In this context, impact would be defined as benefitting the careers, self-confidence, networking capabilities and any other aspects of gaining FSEDA via SLEC and, thus reflect on the effectiveness of the online course which seeks to build confidence, a community of educational and academic developers, through collaborative professional development and structured activities related to individuals’ ‘day jobs’.SEDA has an opportunity to dig deep into the experiences of its newer Fellows’ experiences of gaining not only accreditation, but also developing their role and their place in the HE
Keisha Valdez, Dianne Thurab-NkhosiDeveloping academics as coaches: Preparing the future-ready graduate

Rapid changes in the global workforce and with the nature of careers mean the future is increasingly unknown (Hodge & Lear, 2011). Therefore, it is vital for a future-ready student to have dispositions and 21st century skills that enable them to analyse the climate and context of their industry, and then be resourceful and nimble enough to respond. In light of these evolving future-ready needs, higher education programmes must broaden the conceptualisations of academic preparation to take into account student personal development, vocational identity and creative career planning (Penprase, 2018).Coaching uses an inquiry-based, action-oriented approach to guide goal setting, personal awareness, and achievement. Different from the traditional advisory or mentoring relationships which are often more prescriptive in nature, the coaching creates a student-centred partnership between the academic (coach) and student (coachee). Existing studies on coaching in higher education suggest that the approach can support students with developing skills needed for future career success. These coachable skills include identifying pathways for goal attainment, professional-efficacy, interpersonal relations, stress management, and problem solving (Iordanou, Lech, and Barnes, 2015)The project aims to design and pilot an adaptable blended training programme that prepares academics to engage as coaches. Additionally, the design of this coaching training model presents an opportunity for academic developers to address and develop academics’ non-teaching identities that are equally critical to student success.
Hilary Wason, Marion HeronDeveloping and evaluating a dialogic pedagogy to support critical thinking.

Critical thinking in higher education is key to developing disciplinary knowledge and using problem solving skills for the world of work. Despite the development of a widely disseminated Critical Thinking Skills Toolkit (Wason, 2016), by the Principal Investigator, teachers have identified that they are often unsure how to use the resources. There is a lack of convergence between the aims of the resources and a teacher understanding of the principles underpinning the toolkit. These principles are essentially that critical thinking requires a classroom discourse which is centred around educational dialogue. Educational dialogue refers to classroom discourse in which teachers and students make their thinking visible through reasoning, justification, challenging and explaining. Thus, the effective use of critical thinking resources requires a dialogic pedagogy in which students learn to use educational dialogue. This study builds on the previous work of the PI and utilizes an already established communities of practice to develop and evaluate teachers’ dialogic pedagogy. A planned scheme of academic development activities will introduce teachers to dialogic pedagogy and develop their understanding, self-efficacy and skills as well as evaluating their experiences of using it. The outcomes of this study will be teacher-facing resources to support the current Critical Thinking Skills Toolkit in the form of a teacher’s guide to dialogic pedagogy, an online resource / blog, and a Good Practice Guide.