Head of Academic Development Context
Nottingham Trent University
Centre for Academic Development and Quality
Head of Academic Development Context
The Head of Academic Development is a new role, created to increase capacity for leadership in learning, teaching and curriculum development. It is based in a department with an inclusive and imaginative culture, and a strong focus on work that is evidence-based. Over the past few years, we have developed the department significantly, in terms of purpose and values, as well as size. We have established an unequivocal track record of success and our reputation and influence have grown substantially – as has the remit and impact of the work that we lead. The Head of Academic Development will therefore join a successful and growing team, and is a key role for the University.
Academic development in our context currently encompasses:
Educational development: leading and supporting change in curriculum design and pedagogy
Educational research and evaluation: with a focus on application and providing evidence for further development
Elearning development: production of online learning materials, alongside VLE business support
Trent Institute for Learning and Teaching: scholarship of teaching and learning
The following activities are not in our remit in the current context: accredited staff development, study support, research support, technical support.
The educational development and research teams, with the leadership of the Educational Development Manager, have had particular success in high-profile work. As a result, they have attracted more work and a wider remit. The current structure represents a significant expansion: more than half of the roles in these two teams are attached to funded projects and on fixed-term contracts of 1-2 years. One role in the educational development team provides formal support for TILT; however, in reality, a significant amount of the wider team’s work underpins TILT activity: such as the student research scheme, staff sabbaticals and teaching awards, and conferences.
The elearning team have reinvented themselves in the last year, moving from offering advice on general TEL issues to create a new service for production of online material for new courses delivered partially at distance. The VLE Business Manager is based in this team and will support the Head of Academic Development directly. A related role is the Online and Flexible Learning Development Manager − although based within the department, this role is outside the Head of Academic Development’s area. The rationale for this is that the manager has a one-year remit to scope support for online learning at scale. The outcome might mean a new team is set up within or outside the department.
The Head of Academic Development will also contribute to wider departmental management, collaborating particularly closely with the Head of Academic Quality and Executive Dean to ensure that the Centre works as a cohesive unit, strategically and operationally. This will involve undertaking some leadership and management responsibilities across the department, as well sharing responsibility to represent the whole service within the University and externally.
Departmental objectives for 2018/19 have been set, but the Head will have scope to develop and influence these and, of course, contribute to planning objectives for future years. Themes include: course design, assessment design and practice, scholarship, inclusive pedagogy and curriculum, active learning, context-specific student experience (e.g. commuting), flexible learning, VLE requirements. Several of the objectives require collaboration across the department, meaning that close working with the Head of Academic Quality will be essential. We also work closely with other departments on areas such as the PGCAP and student engagement.