5th Annual SEDA Conference 2000

Developing the Developers: professional enhancement for staff and educational developers

21 November 2000 - 22 November 2000

Location: Manchester

SEDA's 5th Annual Conference for Staff and Educational Developers took place at the Manchester Conference Centre 21st-22nd November 2000. The title of the Conference was 'Developing the Developers - Professional Enhancement for Staff and Educational Developers'. As the Conference Committee Chair, Rakesh Bhanot, indicated in his welcome, the title and themes of the Conference were selected by the Committee to enable participants to reflect upon and contribute to current and future staff and educational developments within the Higher Education Sector - including the ever-growing body of research evidence.

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
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