Education Development and Leadership in Higher Education: Developing an Effective Institutional Strategy

By Kym Fraser | Go to book overview

4

Education development units and the enhancement of university teaching

Denise Chalmers and Mia O'Brien


THE CORE BUSINESS OF EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT

The increasingly complex and often discontinuous demands on university teaching place education development units in an interesting position. As Ling points out (Chapter 1, this volume), education development is concerned with both the development of teaching and the development of the environment in which teaching occurs. This dual focus on teaching development and the teaching environment takes place in an organisation, which is itself situated in a complex global environment of higher education. This has led us to engage in a critical re-examination of the place of an education development unit within the university, and the central concerns of education development.

Our colleagues in this book have outlined how facilitating the development of teaching engages us in a range of everyday puzzles and problems many of which have been outlined by Ling, and in other chapters in this volume. While these are complex issues in themselves, they are the pragmatic outcomes of a more global and constantly shifting higher education context. It is therefore imperative for education development practitioners to maintain a working knowledge of the socio-economic, cultural, political and philosophical terrain as points of reference for their professional practice.

The role of those engaged in education development is not limited to these familiar issues identified above. Education development endeavours to make a significant contribution to the enhancement of university teaching both within the university community, and across the higher education sector. In order to achieve this, we argue that education development units are primarily engaged in four overarching concerns:

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