Developing Teaching Excellence: Supporting and Developing the Work of Groups and Teams

16 November 2017 - 17 November 2017

Location: The St David’s Hotel, Cardiff




Introduction - Why focus on groups and teams?

The focus for much staff development in both HE and FE to date has been on the development, recognition and reward of individuals who contribute to student learning. This has often been through initiatives that support staff involved in teaching and supporting learning to:

Develop new ideas and skills for their practice, and

Reflect on their own practices, sometimes with a view to

Gaining a teaching qualification and / or

Preparing for some form of professional recognition such as an internal or external award for excellent teaching.

Educational development, by contrast, has often worked with course or project teams, usually with little regard for recognition or reward.

In striving for teaching excellence across a course, a School or a Department, the lone teacher – tending to her or his flock of students (whether from the podium, in the seminar room or, increasingly, from the keyboard) Is still a very common practice. But is a focus on the development of the individual the most effective strategy for the uncertain future we now all face? Isn’t there an increasing requirement for development to address the design and implementation of systems and processes that necessarily go beyond the lone teacher – including course and programme design and student support systems?

Good student learning - where students have a positive experience of learning and where this learning translates into effective action - occurs in a rich and complex environment of support and challenge. Providing such an environment requires the productive work of increasingly multi-skilled teams, to develop policy, strategy and practice. These teams can involve academics, administrators, leaders and managers, learning technologists, learning developers, and other specialists such as library and information professionals, careers staff… and hopefully also students. The recognition of teams is now embedded in a number of institutions' internal reward schemes and at national level through initiatives such as the CATE (the HEA Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence). It is also worth emphasising that the measures which are fundamental to TEF (such as student satisfaction, retention and employability) are unlikely to be enhanced simply through the isolated actions of individual academics - these measures need to be addressed more systematically through staff working collaboratively and co-operatively.

The conference will welcome sessions by people who are supporting the development of teams and groups, or planning to do so. This development may be occurring through more or less conventional staff development processes, or for example through working alongside or even as part of such teams over an extended period, or through new forms of communication (both within and between institutions) such as the growth of online communities and events.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to describe, share, explore, critique and theorise the development of groups and teams. Sessions may build on what we know both about effective staff development for individuals and about high-functioning groups and teams.


We intend that participants will take away ideas and plans for their own practice – and of course for the practice of the teams and groups in which they work.


The conference will be valuable and relevant to a wide range of staff in HE and FE who need to be familiar with the most recent initiatives and the evidence base for the development of groups and teams. This includes educational developers, heads of learning and teaching, course and programme leaders, staff involved in quality assurance/enhancement, and those who support the development of leadership and management in learning and teaching. We also welcome students involved in these activities to come and share their experience.


What factors affect the formation and functioning of effective programme teams and development groups?

How can developers support effective groups and teams?

How can and should we recognise effective groups and teams?

How can we evaluate group and team effectiveness?

What current and emergent theories and models are proving useful?

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