SEDA One Day Event
Management and Staff Development within “Rewarding and Developing Staff in Higher Education” (HEFCE 00/56)
The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
24th April 2001
Conference host: Professor Liz Beaty (Coventry University), SEDA Vice Co-Chair
The purpose of the day was to give an opportunity to colleagues who are developing human resource strategies in response to the HEFCE Consultation Paper “Rewarding and Developing Staff in HE” to consider some of the issues relating to management and staff development.
The issues behind the “Rewarding and Developing Staff ” initiative were considered, and some of the experience we have gained from writing and implementing the Learning and Teaching Strategies were applied. Management and leadership development for senior staff and Heads of Departments in the context of educational development and change was discussed and the experience of the management development elements of SEDA’s Professional Development Accreditation Framework scheme were drawn upon.
The following session handouts are available to download:
The experience of Hull’s accredited management development programme
Dr Tim P Burton, Head of Student Administrative Services, University of Hull
Supporting Heads in developing good practice in academic Schools and Departments
James Wisdom, Educational Development Consultant
An overview of the experience of developing accredited management development programmes at Southampton Institute and at the Open University
Steve Collins, Head of Organisational and Staff Development, Open University
Developing leadership programmes for senior staff – the issues
Professor John Burgoyne, Lancaster University Management School
The following article appears in issue 2.2 of Educational Developments:
Over the last few years SEDA have been a real lifeline for me. I arrived in staff development rather suddenly and SEDA really helped with my orientation into what is still a relatively new profession. It’s easy for new arrivals to feel inferior or ‘put down’ by the experienced practitioners, but there is something about the ethos within this organisation which quickly made me feel secure enough to be myself.
Take this event, for example. There I was, sat in my office looking at a HEFCE document (00/56) and wondering how I was going to comply with my Human Resource Director’s request to assist her with the documentation needed to access the additional funding on offer. The yellow sheet on the top of my in-tray provided the answer. SEDA had thoughtfully anticipated this scenario, and organised a one day event to equip me (and 68 others) for the task. Perfect timing!
The title of the workshop may have unwieldy (inevitably perhaps), but the event itself was a lesson in how to do it right. Impeccably hosted by SEDA Co-Vice Chair Liz Beaty, I particularly liked the way the programme moved along at a rapid pace. The half-hour slots allowed for eight different inputs, and none of them were able to drag through being spun out for too long. Also, the range of speakers and variety in the types of session kept our interest going right to the end.
But what of the content? Gill Tucker from the University of East London opened the programme with her reflections on the current state of HE, with particular reference to Bett and to her recent years at the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development. She highlighted the increasing importance for the sector to care for its customers (students), and the relevance of staff development to this agenda, as summarised by Bett: ‘good staff lead to satisfied students’.
Being a SEDA event, we were never allowed to sit in passive mode for too long, and both morning and afternoon sessions were broken up by small group discussions. James Wisdom sprung into action to facilitate these, dispersing our torpor with his enthusiasm and humour.
Tim Burton from ‘across the fence’ at Hull University gave us a view of what it was like to be a participant on a SEDA accredited management development programme. His input raised a key issue: how can busy University managers find the time necessary to take accredited (and assessed) courses of this kind? Tim is struggling manfully to keep his course up – I wonder how many other managers would be prepared to squeeze this type of activity into their already busy schedules?
Our pre-lunch fade was held at bay by another burst from James Wisdom, looking at how to support heads of schools and departments to develop good practice. Three items in particular struck me from James’ talk:
1. The importance of reflective practice for these managers as a mechanism for development.
2. The contention that: ‘the biggest single influence on the quality of student learning is the quality of course management’.
3. James’ wholehearted recommendation of Paul Ramsden’s book ‘Learning to Lead in Higher Education’ (1998, London: Routledge).
Over lunch I noticed the name badge of a fellow diner which identified him as a Professor working at the Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership. “You should be giving a talk at this event.” I opened, in conversational manner. “I am.” He responded. Serves me right for not reading the programme carefully in advance! John Burgoyne’s presentation was first class; knowledgeable and highly relevant, covering areas such as current best practice in corporate leadership development and stressing the time and effort put into staff development by the most senior staff in some of the world’s most successful companies.
Steve Collins shared his experiences of running the SEDA accredited management development programmes at Southampton Institute. I really enjoyed his talk because he told it as it was, failures as well as successes, and brought us up to date with his plans within his new employer, the Open University.
And finally… who better to talk on ‘Going Forward with the Project on Rewarding and Developing Staff in HE’ than the project sponsor within HEFCE, Stephen Egan? Stephen is the Director of Finance and Corporate Resources with the Funding Council, and clearly feels passionately about the business of helping UK higher education to improve continuously. I found it really helpful and encouraging to hear him talk about the thinking behind this initiative, and to put a human face to the HEFCE documents.
In conclusion, this was the type of event that SEDA do well and it was a very practical support to those of us working away in small units within the various universities of England. And that’s not all that SEDA do well… SEDA have pioneered the national accreditation of professional development courses, and now have a revised framework to encompass Professional Development in HE (PDHE). A number of named awards are to be offered by SEDA, and individual programmes are able to apply for recognition to the Programme Recognition Committee. The PDAF Embedding Learning Technologies is already in place, with further awards being developed in the following areas:
Postgraduate Supervision Management Administration Student Support Generic
See the SEDA website for more details on the revised Professional Development accreditation framework.
Mike Cook FSEDA
Academic Staff Development Manager
University of Lincolnshire and Humberside