April Flowers

On April 20th 2012, faculty and Dean Karen Belfer from the VCC Centre for Instructional Development attended the spring meeting of Universities, Colleges and Institutes Professional Development (UCIPD). UCIPD is a Community of Practice composed of Education Developers and scholars from post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. We met at the beautiful University of Victoria Learning and Teaching Centre

Presentations included two important research findings that inform the practice of education development centres. The University of Victoria’s Teresa Dawson presented practical tips on documenting the effectiveness of education development activities.

Participants also read and discussed key features of Simon Fraser University (SFU) professor Cheryl Amundsen’s and graduate student Mary Wilson’s publication “Are We Asking the Right Questions? A Conceptual Review of the Educational Development Literature in Higher Education.” Review of Educational Research March 2012 82: 90-126. ”This article is a conceptual review of the literature variously referred to as faculty development, educational development, instructional development, and academic development in higher education. Click here for the link to the abstract and full text article.

Amundsen and Wilson’s article offers a substantive critique of how we evaluate education development programs in the past. It also offers critical questions and opportunities for future research. The article challenges us to ask different questions about the impact of educational development interventions.  By asking “What are the features of educational development that make it effective?” we can more appropriately focus our assessments on the learning process than specific learning outcomes.

It was also very interesting to review the “Campus-based Professional Development: Survey Update 2012” with researchers Nancy Randall, Penny Heaslip and Dianne Morrison. UCIPD members reviewed many dimensions of educational development work over the past ten years. It was inspiring to see the growth in rigour, breadth, depth and support for all education development centres, resources and work dimensions. The full report will be posted online soon after the final editing process.

UCIPD is a vibrant Community of Practice for Education Developers and the spring meeting at U Vic was one of the best!


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