Optimising disruptive approaches: extending academic roles and identities in higher education
Journal: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Responding to the changing landscape of higher education (HE) requires the development and implementation of flexible and imaginative approaches to continually inspire, engage and support academics and professional services staff in delivering high quality student-centred learning experiences. At Bournemouth University (BU), the cross-university Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) was created to promote, support and co-ordinate pedagogic initiatives and embed the explicit valuing of teaching and learning into all aspects of university life. It represents a collaborative, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary model with multiple stakeholder voices. Operationalised through the secondment of academics two days a week, and taking a thematic approach, Theme Leaders 'bid' for the secondment, and drive forward an agreed agenda. The BU 'Fusion' corporate strategy promotes clear links between Pedagogy, Professional Practice and Research, complemented by the current CEL themes of: Employability; Innovation in Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovative Pedagogies; Assessment and Feedback.
We believe that the sustainability and creativity required to deliver this agenda are promoted through the building of strong networks, the sharing of challenges and the collaborative development of solutions, however, as academics moving into the realms of learning development, our roles and identities are constantly being challenged, contested, and reframed by the responses of peers, students and our wider disciplinary roots. This paper offers a model for mapping and managing change and optimising these and other 'disruptive' practices within HE institutional settings, and considers the flexible and blended academic identities that facilitate this approach.