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



Introduction – Why focus on groups and teams?

The focus for much staff development in both HE and FE to date has been on the development, recognition and reward of individuals who contribute to student learning. This has often been through initiatives that support staff involved in teaching and supporting learning to:

● Develop new ideas and skills for their practice, and

● Reflect on their own practices, sometimes with a view to

● Gaining a teaching qualification and / or

● Preparing for some form of professional recognition such as an internal or external award for excellent teaching.

Educational development, by contrast, has often worked with course or project teams, usually with little regard for recognition or reward.

In striving for teaching excellence across a course, a School or a Department, the lone teacher – tending to her or his flock of students (whether from the podium, in the seminar room or, increasingly, from the keyboard) Is still a very common practice. But is a focus on the development of the individual the most effective strategy for the uncertain future we now all face? Isn’t there an increasing requirement for development to address the design and implementation of systems and processes that necessarily go beyond the lone teacher – including course and programme design and student support systems?

Good student learning – where students have a positive experience of learning and where this learning translates into effective action – occurs in a rich and complex environment of support and challenge. Providing such an environment requires the productive work of increasingly multi-skilled teams, to develop policy, strategy and practice. These teams can involve academics, administrators, leaders and managers, learning technologists, learning developers, and other specialists such as library and information professionals, careers staff… and hopefully also students. The recognition of teams is now embedded in a number of institutions’ internal reward schemes and at national level through initiatives such as the CATE (the HEA Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence). It is also worth emphasising that the measures which are fundamental to TEF (such as student satisfaction, retention and employability) are unlikely to be enhanced simply through the isolated actions of individual academics – these measures need to be addressed more systematically through staff working collaboratively and co-operatively.

The conference will welcome sessions by people who are supporting the development of teams and groups, or planning to do so. This development may be occurring through more or less conventional staff development processes, or for example through working alongside or even as part of such teams over an extended period, or through new forms of communication (both within and between institutions) such as the growth of online communities and events.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to describe, share, explore, critique and theorise the development of groups and teams. Sessions may build on what we know both about effective staff development for individuals and about high-functioning groups and teams.


We intend that participants will take away ideas and plans for their own practice – and of course for the practice of the teams and groups in which they work.


The conference will be valuable and relevant to a wide range of staff in HE and FE who need to be familiar with the most recent initiatives and the evidence base for the development of groups and teams. This includes educational developers, heads of learning and teaching, course and programme leaders, staff involved in quality assurance/enhancement, and those who support the development of leadership and management in learning and teaching. We also welcome students involved in these activities to come and share their experience.


● What factors affect the formation and functioning of effective programme teams and development groups?

● How can developers support effective groups and teams?

● How can and should we recognise effective groups and teams?

● How can we evaluate group and team effectiveness?

● What current and emergent theories and models are proving useful?

Call for contributions closed

Proposals for workshops, discussion papers and panel presentations are invited which address the conference topic and themes. Sessions should involve reflection, exploration, scholarship and evaluation rather than just describing activities undertaken. Proposals should also be grounded in relevant literature and research wherever possible.

All SEDA conference sessions involve active participation, discussion and development. Activities should go well beyond simply talking about topics or discussing ideas presented. Activities should involve critique, analysis, development and action planning by and with participants.

Session formats

Workshops: 45 or 90 minutes, which explore research- and practice-informed topics and include high levels of creativity, innovative thinking, critique, practical participation and action planning.

Discussion papers: 45 minutes, including no more than 20 minutes presentation with at least 25 minutes of questions and discussion / exploration, describing and exploring research, evaluation, policy and/or practice. The emphasis should be on drawing out lessons for and with others, and involving participants in engaging with your findings and ideas. Sessions that integrate presentation and discussion, rather than presentation followed by Q&A, will generally be preferred.

Panel presentations: We are also inviting presentations for chaired panel sessions. In these, sets of three 10-minute presentations on related themes will be followed by 15 minutes of panel / Q&A discussion. You may offer a single panel presentation, or you may, with colleagues, propose a suite of two or three distinct but related panel presentations.

Posters: These must not exceed A0 in size. They will be on display throughout the conference and there will be an opportunity to discuss them with colleagues at specific times.

Criteria for acceptance of proposalsEach proposal will be reviewed for acceptance at the conference against the following criteria:

● Contribution to the conference topic and themes;

● Clarity and coherence of the proposal, including title;

● Contribution to practice, scholarship and evaluation of educational development in further and higher education, reflecting on and informing the future of educational development;

● Likely value of session aims and outcomes to participants;

● Consistency with the SEDA Values;

● Appropriateness of session structure and specified timings in relation to session type and outcomes; and

● Active and productive engagement of participants.

Jane McNeil, Director of Academic Development, Nottingham Trent UniversityJane 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 PlymouthDebby 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: Ruth Pickford, Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Leeds Beckett UniversityProfessor 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.

The St. David’s Hotel is the only AA rated 5 star hotel in Cardiff and provides a luxurious backdrop whether you enjoying a short break, conference, wedding, celebration or simply to relax. Positioned spectacularly on Cardiff Bay, the hotel is within easy reach of major transport networks and just 2 hours from London.The award-winning Marine Spa is a must to feel pampered, you can enjoy fine dining in the Tempus at Tides Restaurant & Bar or sample a delicious Afternoon Tea on the terrace with breathtaking views across the Bay.Staying at The St David’s Hotel is a wonderful experience providing an escape by the sea yet minutes from Cardiff city.The bedrooms of the The St David’s Hotel in Cardiff combine a wide range of stylish and luxurious rooms to choose from Classic Kings to a luxury Deluxe Master Suite which has seen its fair share of famous guests.Many bedrooms offer unparalleled views of Cardiff Bay and are equipped with the latest technology, facilities and maximum comfort for weekend getaways, mid-week breaks and the transient business traveller. Please note that bedroom pictures on this site may not portray accurate representations of specific bedroom types.Please see this fact-sheet for further information.

Conference Package

Early bird price (prior to 5pm Thurs 19 October 2017)

Standard price(after 5pm Thurs 19 October 2017)

Full residential conference delegate (includes one nights accommodation and all meals, including the conference dinner)



Student Concessionary Full residential conference delegate (includes one nights accommodation and all meals, including the conference dinner) Available to Full Time Students Only £380 £440

Non-residential day delegate Thursday 16th November and Friday 17th November (includes lunch and refreshments)



Non-residential day delegate Thursday 16th November (includes lunch and refreshments)



Student Concessionary Non-residential day delegate Thursday 16th November (includes lunch and refreshments) Available to Full Time Students Only £145 £165

Non-residential day delegate Friday 17th November (includes lunch and refreshments)



Student Concessionary Non-residential day delegate Friday 17th November (includes lunch and refreshments) Available to Full Time Students Only £145 £165

Bed and breakfast accommodation for the night of Wednesday 15th November



Conference dinner Thursday 16th November



Wednesday 15th November 2017We will be holding our Annual Fellowships CPD Event the evening prior to the Conference.Wifi code: Username: SEDA2017 Password: SEDA2017Day One09.15 – 09.45 Registration and tea & coffee – DYLAN THOMAS PRE-FUNCTION ROOM09.45 – 09.50 Welcome and Introductions – THOMAS SUITE09.50 – 10.10 View from SEDA – THOMAS SUITE10.10 – 11.00 Opening Keynote Address – Reinventing the Wheel: A Blueprint for Supporting Course Teams to Develop Teaching Excellence  – THOMAS SUITEProfessor Ruth Pickford, Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Leeds Beckett University11.00 – 11.30 Break – DYLAN THOMAS PRE-FUNCTION ROOM

11.00 – 11.30 New to SEDA? Come and find out more – DAHL SUITE

11.30 – 12.15 Parallel Session 1

  1. Changing the academic landscape at Abertay : Academic change management from three different perspectives Alastair Robertson, Julie Blackwell Young and A. Janet Horrocks – DAHL SUITE
  2. Using technology to support team-working skills for effective groups: the development of tools and spaces Rehana Awan, Carole Anderson – ROALD SUITE
  3. SoTL and Gaining Senior recognition for your teaching Gina Wisker , Jacqueline Potter – PENARTH SUITE
  4. Transcending module silos: growing and supporting curriculum change agents Nina Brooke, Karen Ayres and Andrew Charlton-Perez – DYLAN SUITE
  5. Authority, Leadership and Cake: enablers or inhibitors of the creation and effectiveness of academic staff learning groups? Joy Jarvis, Karen Clark, Phil Long, Rebecca Thomas – THOMAS SUITE

12.20 – 13.05 Parallel Session 2

  1. The UWE Enhancement Framework: Working with Programme Teams to Develop Outstanding Academic Programmes and Practice Elizabeth Cleaver, Rachel Cowie – THOMAS SUITE
  2. How can we support groups or teams of staff to engage with and derive benefit from gaining professional recognition for their teaching? Clara Davies – DYLAN SUITE
  3. Developing Collegiality: International Perspectives on the Perceptions of Impact of Gaining Fellowship Aligned to the (UK) Professional Standards Framework Sarah Floyd, Vicky Davies, Fiona Smart, Rachael Carkett, Mark Dransfield – PENARTH SUITE
  4. Evaluating Individual Contributions to Group Work: how useful is Peer Assessment? Amy Lund – ROALD SUITE
  5. Distributed and disaggregated: Developing excellence in teaching and learning in online distance learning teams  James Brunton, Orna Farrell – DAHL SUITE


13.10 – 14.00 Lunch – THE ADMIRAL ST DAVID14.05 – 15.35 Parallel Session 3

  1. Preparing students for group work Sue Cordell, Helen Waters-Marsh – ROALD SUITE
  2. Breaking silos: unlocking the potential of programme design Nigel Dandy, Cecilia Lowe, Katy Mann Benn, Phil Robinson-Self – DYLAN SUITE 
  3. Facilitating Academic Communities of practice Geof Hill – THOMAS SUITE
  4. Developing the effectiveness of teams through transdisciplinary approaches to addressing ‘wicked problems’ Michael Wride – DAHL SUITE

15.35 – 15.45 Break – DYLAN THOMAS PRE-FUNCTION ROOM15.45 – 16.45 Using national and international networks and communities for development, dissemination (and dodging bullets)  – THOMAS SUITESally Brown, Phil Race and David Baume (Independent Consultants)17.00 – 17.45 NetworkingGetting Published with SEDA James Wisdom (Chair, SEDA Educational Developments Magazine Editorial Committee) – DAHL SUITE18.50 Drinks Reception – DYLAN THOMAS PRE-FUNCTION ROOM19.30 Dinner – DYLAN THOMAS SUITEDay Two9.00 – 09.30 Registration, tea and coffee – DYLAN THOMAS PRE-FUNCTION ROOM09.30 – 09.40 Welcome to day 2 – THOMAS SUITE09.40 – 10.30 Opening Keynote Address – We’re gonna need a bigger boat: achieving widespread educational change  – THOMAS SUITEJane McNeil, Director of Academic Development, Nottingham Trent University10.30 – 10.45 Break  – DYLAN THOMAS PRE-FUNCTION ROOM10.45 – 11.30 Parallel Session 4

  1. Developing interdisciplinary cohort identities among early career university teachers Emma Kennedy, Claire Loffman – DYLAN SUITE 
  2. Teachers as learners and learners as teachers: Using the Maori concept of ‘Ako’ to develop collaborative professionals in a postgraduate programme and beyond Bernadette Knewstubb – THOMAS SUITE
  3. A comparison of two academic support team models: Peer delivery and 3rd space professionals Simon Gamble, Anna Limpens – PENARTH SUITE
  4. Immigrant academics in the pedagogic ‘foreign-land’: Factors influencing their pedagogic acculturation Namrata Rao and Dr Anesa Hosein – ROALD SUITE
  5. Evolving Carpe Diem: a tale of two universities Linda Creanor, Sheila MacNeill, Julie Usher – DAHL SUITE

11.35 – 12.20 Parallel Session 5

  1. Developing the work of programme teams . . . by ‘giving licence’ to Programme Leads Pollyanna Magne – DYLAN SUITE
  2. A Democracy of Loud Voices? Exploring alternative models of organising group discussion Chris Mitchell – ROALD SUITE
  3. Eliciting and Responding to Schools’ Needs: supporting teams using Academic Development Needs Analysis Jackie Potter, Corony Edwards – DAHL SUITE
  4. A critical exploration of the positive impact of an Institutional Fellowship on university wide teaching and learning John Bostock  – THOMAS SUITE
  5. SEDA Professional Development Framework: Supporting CPD in HE and beyond what, why and how? Vicky Davies, Jenny Eland – PENARTH SUITE

12.25 – 13.20 Lunch – THE ADMIRAL ST DAVID13.20 – 14.10 Keynote 4 – What is the role of an educational developer in the neoliberal university?  – THOMAS SUITEProfessor Debby Cotton, Head of Educational Development, PedRIO, University of Plymouth14.15 – 15.00 Parallel Session 6

  1. There’s no “I” in team: developing a successful transnational collaboration Jo Smedley – ROALD SUITE
  2. The distributed educational development team: an evaluative case study Claire Taylor, Sue Horder, Jane Richardson, Colin Heron, Neil Pritchard – DYLAN SUITE
  3. All or nothing: Building teaching team capacity to support the adoption of active learning Andrew Middleton, Helen Kay – THOMAS SUITE
  4. ‘Can we have us on here?’ Recognising collaborative practice in professional development frameworks: possibilities and problems Ruth Windscheffel – DAHL SUITE

15.05 – 15.20 Interactive session – THOMAS SUITE15.20 – 15.30 Summing up and close – THOMAS SUITE