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Cultivating communities of teaching practice through HEA subject centres Philippa Hunter-Jones, Stuart McGugan, Heather Farley and Carol Reid.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultivating communities of teaching practice through HEA subject centres Philippa Hunter-Jones, Stuart McGugan, Heather Farley and Carol Reid."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultivating communities of teaching practice through HEA subject centres Philippa Hunter-Jones, Stuart McGugan, Heather Farley and Carol Reid

2 Structure of Presentation Learning in workplace settings. BMAF New Lecturers Project: Overview; Methodology; Stages; Findings. Conclusions. Contact details.

3 Learning in workplace settings transmission model. competence or outcomes based model. experiential model. learning as participation in a community of practice.

4 Community membership is socially negotiated ‘If a community [of practice] (...) rejected a newcomer for some reason, that person would have a hard time learning (...) legitimacy can take many forms: being useful, being sponsored (...) being the right kind of person (...) Granting the newcomers legitimacy is important because they are likely to fall short of what the community regards as competent engagement. Only with enough legitimacy can all their inevitable stumbling and violations become opportunities for learning rather than cause for dismissal, neglect, or exclusion’. (Wenger, 1998, p.101).

5 Benefits to Community Members Short-term value: Improve experience of work Long–term value: Foster professional development Help with challenges Forum for expanding skills and expertise Access to expertise Network for keeping abreast of a field Better able to contribute to team Enhanced professional reputation Confidence in one’s approach to problems Increased marketability and employability Fun of being with colleagues Strong sense of professional identity More meaningful participation Sense of belonging Communities of Practice: Short and long term value to community members (Wenger et al, 2002, p.16)

6 The BMAF Project: Overview Aim of the study: To identify what the needs of new teaching staff in BMAF disciplines are and to ascertain how BMAF can best offer support to individuals, departments and universities. Working definition of a New Lecturer (NL): Permanent full-time or part-time contract as a lecturer, even if fixed term; Employed in a BMAF discipline area, ie not economics, law or hospitality; Within the first 3 years of their first academic post, possibly just into the 4 th year, if required to achieve numbers; Not Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs).

7 Methodology Semi-structured interviews with a target population. Strategic: Dean or Associate Dean and senior management with overall responsibility for academic staff resourcing, quality management and learning and teaching within the business school. The Head of the Educational Development Unit (EDU) or equivalent. Operational: 2-3 programme directors/module leaders within the business school and the EDU lead for the HEI Certificate in HE teaching. New Academics: 6-8 new academic staff, i.e. within 3-4 years of their first academic post, with a sample selected to reflect where possible, subject specialism, career stage, gender and contract type in the HEI.

8 Stages Pilot Stage: –September – December –University of Liverpool + University of Ulster. Main Stage: –Launched January 2009 (-June 2009). –6 institutions.

9 Findings Induction: Formal processes – different levels; different forms. “It is impractical to expect new lecturers to meet everyone in the building, but if a meeting or coffee could be organised with some key people who the new lecturer should know then that would be grand”.

10 Findings Mentoring: Role of mentor = protection; circumvent the ‘system’; “Mentoring (…) formal face and it can be unhelpful sometimes”; Seen as a means to establishing informal relationships; “I was assigned a mentor formally (…) it didn’t hugely take up that much time (…) but it did lead onto social relationships and really that’s what it is all about the social relationships I think”.

11 Findings CPD/Training: Workshops: research supervision; student retention; Web CT; international collaboration; research methods. Certificate in Professional Studies/PGCHEP. SEDA modules. Training leads to informal networking opportunities “we all liked working together and meeting up and we still meet up for coffee”.

12 Conclusions Purposeful learning is derived by newcomers through participation (with others) in activities, tasks, habits of the work community. Challenge – how to enrich the work community. ‘Open dialogue between inside and outside perspectives’ (Wenger, 2002).

13 Provision of both generic and subject specific networking events for New Lecturers. Support for the transition of international staff joining the UK Higher Education system. Development of mechanisms to expose new staff with no industrial experience to the corporate environment. Provision of training and resources to support the e-learning agenda. Subject linked resource database linked to other relevant databases including case studies. Checklist of generic issues a New Lecturer might encounter within their initial period of appointment, including for example teaching related issues: module specification; assignment documentation; deadlines for examination papers; external examiner requirements; class lists; timetable of Departmental/School meetings with requirements for attendance, etc. Subject linked on-line support modules. What new BMAF teachers asked for:

14 Contact details Philippa Hunter-Jones, University of Liverpool. E: Stuart McGugan, University of Liverpool. E: Heather Farley, University of Ulster. E: Carol Reid, University of Ulster. E:

15 Acknowledgements We would like to thank Richard Atfield (BMAF) and fellow members of the Project Steering Committee for their help and support throughout this project. We would also like to thank staff, at both pilot institutions, who willingly gave up their time to participate in the research.


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