Reflections on HERDSA and other HE visits in Australia

Kathryn Harrison-Graves, HEA Head of Global Parnterships
30 June 2017

In a week that has seen two further institutions in the shape of The University of Sydney and Navitas join the growing community of HEA partners in Australasia, I have been fortunate to spend time with inspirational academic and professional staff from across the sector here in Australia.

My week started by visiting Murdoch University. Murdoch was one of the first institutions in Australia to engage with the HEA Fellowship programme and I am delighted to see that they have just confirmed their first Fellowships.

Through their HEA accredited programme, the team at Murdoch University has brought together a wide range of Faculty from across the disciplines, some quite new to the profession and some who have been teaching for almost 20 years, but all recognising the benefits of continuous professional learning. I would like to extend my congratulations to all those awarded their HEA Fellowship and look forward to working with them as they continue to transform learning and teaching.

My levels of inspiration have been topped up further by three really thought provoking sessions at the HERDSA Annual Conference. HERDSA is the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia and this year’s conference had the theme of 'Curriculum Transformation'.  With sessions covering thorny issues such as teaching development in research spaces, effective use of peer review, measuring impact of teacher development and how to transform the traditional Graduate and Postgraduate certificate curriculum being considered, there is a great opportunity for the wider global teaching and learning community to gain from engaging with some of the excellent work exhibited this week. And I hope that through the emerging HEA networks and communities of practice we can further facilitate transformation by connecting the people leading the way in these spaces.

Next to Adelaide and the STARS (Student Transitions, Achievement, Retention and Success) Conference where I’ll be running a session examining the HEA Fellowship scheme as a mechanism to both enhance teaching practice and to recognise and reward individuals for their teaching success in HE. With over 90,000 HEA Fellows globally, and almost 1,000 here in Australia, there is growing interest in this aspect of the HEA’s work.  We’ve heard just this week at the HERDSA Conference about the importance of professional learning for teaching, the need to invest in teaching and the power of individuals as catalysts in transformation and I’m sure the session in Adelaide will further take these conversations further.

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