Needs analysis

In the early stages of this Supporting and Leading Educational Change (SLEC) course, I composed a description of my professional roles and duties at the University of Reading in the UK. Then, I utilised a provided diagnostic tool to self-evaluate my perceived abilities as an educational developer. Both the description and self-audit are accessible on this website:

Description of my professional roles & duties

Diagnostic audit

On completion of these tasks, I expressed my current priorities for improvement as follows:

“I really need to appreciate the UK scene better and perhaps this could be achieved through more exposure at national events, e.g. participation in conferences. I need also to think on a grander scale, aim for wider impact. At the moment, I’m still mostly focused on helping individual lecturers, single departments or programmes.”

To rephrase more formally, my immediate development goals are to…

  1. become better acquainted with the UK learning & teaching in higher education landscape and increase my awareness of sector agendas to inform the work that I carry out in a UK higher education institution

Although I have worked as an educational developer in Singapore and in a related role in Hong Kong, and although both locales have historic connections with UK higher education, nonetheless they are distinct and sometimes have divergent priorities. Now that I am fully immersed in a UK institution, I need to engage more with the national scene to ensure the relevance of my efforts in promoting the quality of learning and teaching at the University of Reading.

  1. explore, select and implement strategies to increase the scope of the impact that I have on the quality of learning & teaching across my institution

I am accustomed to collaborating with and supporting relatively small teams, e.g. with a programme team renewing a specific degree curriculum. Now I am expected to contribute to initiatives at a larger scale, e.g. changing the culture of assessment and feedback throughout the whole institution. I found myself at a loss about how to proceed at first and really feel the need to become more knowledgeable and proficient in this area of expertise.

In addition, I have identified a third, longer term goal for my professional development.

  1. Specialise in the field of the internationalisation of higher education

I would like to be more knowledgeable about internationalisation of higher education, to the extent that I will be able to advise colleagues more confidently. This goal dovetails with operational needs in that my Centre is in the process of rolling out the Curriculum Framework, one strand of which is a higher education response to globalisation. My longer term intention is to add to what is known about the internationalisation of higher education by carrying out research into aspects of it.

Action plan

To reach the above goals, I have identified concrete actions for each, as follows:

  1. Become better acquainted with the UK learning & teaching in higher education landscape
    • Pay attention to relevant news articles about UK higher education, read SEDA mailing list, join HEA webinars, monitor updates on the Teaching Excellence Framework, etc.
    • Attend 1 relevant conference – SEDA Spring TLA Conference – in May 2018
    • Identify and contribute to 1 relevant conference in 2019
  2. Increase the scope of the impact that I have on the quality of learning & teaching
    • Read references from chapters 11 and 13 of Baume & Popovic (2016)
    • Plan a 2 day learning & teaching event in July 2018 involving 80 participants and several guest speakers with guidance from a more experienced colleague
    • Attend the second part of externally provided project management training scheduled for May 2018
    • Observe and note how a Dean manages a Community of Practice (for which I am the secretary)
    • Conduct a survey of undergraduate digital literacies during the 2018/19 academic year and disseminate findings via our T&L Exchange blog
  3. Specialise in the field of the internationalisation of higher education
    • Read the references from a 2014 Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that I followed on Coursera titled Globalizing Higher Education and Research for the ‘Knowledge Economy’ 
    • Arrange a learning and teaching showcase event in March 2018 with two Japanese guests who are experienced in forging international partnerships
    • Attend an information event in March 2018 for the EdD programme at Oxford Brookes University, which may be a suitable environment for me to pursue further studies because Oxford Brookes hosts the Centre for Curriculum Internationalisation 

Whether all the above goals and plans are sufficiently SMART will be subject to review by my line manager, as I intend to include them in my formal Professional Development Review. Doing that will also make sure that a retrospective evaluation will occur as well.

Reference

Baume, D. and Popovic, C. (eds) (2016). Advancing practice in academic development. Routledge.

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