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Co-operation in development

September 29, 2016

Notes for a survey and session at SEDA November 2016 Conference 

The importance of collaboration in learning and development has long been stressed. Working with and developing learning communities is a SEDA value. Kahn and Walsh (2009) provide theoretical underpinnings for and vivid examples of collaboration. Baume and Popovic (2016) contains many accounts of the importance of collaboration. The authors describe “the increased blurring of and collaboration between development functions;” (p 293). At greater length, we say:


Not all problems, opportunities or possible sites for action in higher education fall tidily under the heading of teaching, learning, assessment, course design, educational development, staff/faculty development, student development, advice and guidance, personal tutoring, language development, numeracy development, learning technology, management, researcher development, research supervision development, administration, support for students with specific learning difficulties, international education, support for students from overseas, equality of opportunity, graduate careers education and advice, employability, community links, open and distance learning, learning resources, estate planning, designing and equipping teaching and learning spaces, learning analytics, organizational development, library and information services, etc. … This suggests, if it were not already obvious, the great need for the various university development functions, including but not limited to those above, to cooperate.”

This is all very well. But organisational and political pressures can militate against collaboration. We all believe in cooperation. The issue which this discussion paper session will tackle is – how can we make it happen, in the real world of current higher education?

Baume, D., & Popovic, C. (Eds.). (2016). Advancing Practice in Academic Development. London: RoutledgeFamler.

Walsh, L., & Kahn, P. H. (2009). Collaborative working in higher education: The social academy. New York: Routledge.


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