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

By Kym Fraser | Go to book overview

10

Education development through funded projects

Bob Matthew and Ray Land

Over the last two decades considerable sums of public money have been invested, in different countries, in a wide range of education development projects in higher education. The effectiveness of these projects, in terms of their adoption, impact and penetration has been perceived, where they have been evaluated, as variable. It is timely to consider both what might be the source of this variation and what may be learned from it. This chapter arises from our personal experiences of working as education developers in the contexts of Scottish-, English- and European-funded higher education projects. We are clear that this chapter is not a comprehensive review of education development projects; that has already been carried out by Murphy (2003). Instead our intention is to discuss, on the basis of our own experience, how education development might be more successfully facilitated through funded projects. Of course the world of education developers comprises a number of overlapping 'tribes' or communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), and these communities operate through a variety of different approaches and conceptual frameworks (Land, 2001). Hence the reader must take what we, as developers with our own tribal affiliations, say and contextualise it into their own organisation and their own way of working. Our own reflections on how we work as developers alongside academic colleagues lead us to conclude that our practice needs both to include, and to be informed by research, with clear awareness of the theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks on which we draw (Fry et al., 2004). This has implications for how we see education development, particularly through funded projects, and the following discussion will reflect such perspectives.

In this chapter we will first discuss the problem of engagement with academic colleagues, and then go on to review our own experience of engaging with academics through various funded projects. This then leads

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