5th Annual SEDA Conference 2000
Developing the Developers: professional enhancement for staff and educational developers21 November 2000 - 22 November 2000
The Conference was opened by the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, Alexandra Burslem OBE. She emphasised the importance of continuing professional development across the sector to improve the support given to students and to enable staff to meet the challenges of new legislation. Dr Angela Brew presented a very stimulating opening keynote address 'Taking Research Seriously: the role of inquiry in staff and educational development'; she emphasised how enquiry, investigation and discovery were at the heart of effective staff and educational development. Staff and educational developers should recognise the centrality of enquiry and 'hold our own as researchers'. Dr Ray Land presented a thought provoking and highly enjoyable keynote address 'Development and Change: a tool for auditing practice. In this session he took delegates through an exploration of notions of change which appear to underpin the way developers operate within specific organisational contexts; the presentation also offered a conceptual tool for auditing the extent to which development units appropriately address the cultures and needs of their institutions.
The Conference offered a wide range of well evaluated seminars and workshops and closed with an address from Dr Sheila Watt (Head of Learning and Teaching Policy) of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Dr Watt discussed emerging policies for staff and educational development and the need for capacity building; in her abstract of the session she quoted Ingram and Schneider 'Public policy almost always attempts to get people to do things they might not otherwise do; or it enables people to do things they might not have done otherwise.' The Conference certainly provided a plethora of practical and scholarly means of enabling delegates to learn, reflect, share and build capacity.
Dr Kristine Mason O'Connor
SEDA Conference Committee