The UK HE sector continues to increase its reliance on teaching-focused roles with HESA data reporting 32% of overall academic staff employed on teaching-focused contracts in 2019/20 (HESA, 2021). However, in contrast to established teaching and research career paths, a common sector approach to promotion for those in what might more broadly be termed ‘education focused’ roles (encapsulating the diversity of nomenclature used across the sector) have not yet emerged, with considerable variation in practice identified across institutional role descriptors, promotion criteria and provision of developmental support.
A particular challenge noted is the requirement to demonstrate scholarship activity, a common feature of promotion criteria for those on education-focussed tracks (Smith & Walker, 2021). This challenge stems from the lack of a shared sectoral definition of scholarship and its outputs resulting in diverse interpretation and ongoing debate centred around differences between scholarship, the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and pedagogic research.
In this chat we invite colleagues to share their own experiences and practices from their own institutions, to help develop a shared understanding of what constitutes ‘scholarship’ and to consider practical steps that might be taken to aid those on these pathways in the planning and advancement of their own scholarship activity.
HESA. 2021b, January. Who’s Studying in HE? https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/whos-in-he#provider.
Smith, S., & Walker, D. (2021). Scholarship and academic capitals: The boundaried nature of education-focused career tracks. Teaching in Higher Education, 0(0), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.1965570
Dr David Walker PFHEA @drdjwalker (Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education & Students – University of Brighton). David is the Associate PVC (Education & Students at the University of Brighton where he has strategic leadership for the development and implementation of policy and practice to ensure learning and teaching excellence, facilitating positive outcomes for students, and ensuring the delivery of outstanding support to academic staff across the university to advance learning and teaching excellence and innovation. David is a senior leader in digital education, a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Editor of the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice (JPAAP), a member of the SEDA Conference and Events Committee and an external examiner/advisor for several leading UK HEIs.
Dr Susan Smith PFHEA @SmithySusanA (Associate Dean, Education & Students – University of Sussex Business School). Susan leads the education portfolio at the University of Sussex Business School. She is a Principal Fellow of Advance HE, trustee of UK Advising and Tutoring (UK AT), member of the ICAEW Academic and Education Community Advisory Board, and member of the Future Talent Council Curriculum Innovation Advisory Board.
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