SEDA Spring Conference 2000

Reaching Out

10 April 2000 - 12 April 2000

Location: Coventry

The Conference
The conference aimed to bring together colleagues involved in staff and educational development in HE in the UK and other parts of the world. In line with the theme, the participation of other sectors of post-compulsory teaching and learning was also encouraged.

"Reaching Out" included: exploring strategies for widening participation; creating and supporting networks and partnerships; the effective use of the Internet for teaching and learning and the challenge of leadership in managing change.

The title of the conference was very apposite in terms of the breadth of participants it attracted as the Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor of Coventry University, Professor Gareth Thomas, welcomed over 120 delegates from a range of UK institutions as well as from Turkey, Australia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Malaysia. For the majority of participants this was their first SEDA Conference; judging by their conference evaluations it won't be their last.

The format of the conference comprised parallel sessions of workshops, seminars and paper presentations. It opened at 11.00 on Monday 10 April and closed at 15.00 on Wednesday 12 April.

The conference started with a keynote presentation, Reaching Academic People: the Leadership Challenge, given by Professor Paul Ramsden, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Sydney, pictured far right with Rakesh Bhanot, Chair of the SEDA Conference Committee.

Professor Ramsden emphasised the need for clear strategic planning and implementation, and transformational leadership; he said that staff and educational development cannot progress 'on a wing and a prayer' but must make a business case and plan accordingly. He left delegates in no doubt of his conviction that the higher education sector is, and will be, characterised by radical change with a major driver being the new information and communications technologies.
Day two saw a further keynote address given by Professor Freda Tallantyre, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Client Services) at the University of Derby, pictured left. Her presentation lived up to its title Tearing Down the Walls: widening participation as she deftly took delegates through developments in higher education over the last fifty years including the 'chinks in the wall' made by access courses to the empowering of the learner through the concept of borderless education.

Following Professor Tallantyre's session, Mark Dale, of the eQuip Project Team based at the University of Nottingham, led a plenary session entitled A Multi-Ability Curriculum - disabled students in HE.

The conference closed on the third day with a final keynote address given by Lord Dearing, Chairman of the University for Industry, entitled No Hiding Place: No Choice.
Conference Themes
  • Access to Higher Education (a. transition / skills, b. widening participation)
  • Staff and Educational Development
  • On-line Learning Environments
  • On-line Learning Practice
  • Managing Change
  • Partnerships
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