Approaches to developing pedagogical skills in the new Higher Education teacher
AbstractIn this chapter I explore the issues and challenges around developing pedagogical skills in higher education teachers in the current UK Higher Education (HE) context. HE teachers come to teaching often primarily as highly qualified specialists within their own field rather than as teachers, a role they learn as they engage with it. HE institutions currently make increasing demands on academic staff, who have to negotiate a number of different discourses around quality, student entitlement, employability and competitiveness. Institutions also have an increasingly diverse student body, resulting from the widening participation agenda and also the drive to recruit more students from overseas, and they are developing more innovative ways of meeting student needs, including using advances in technology to provide blended or online courses. It is in this complex and demanding context that the new HE teacher begins to develop their identity as a teacher. In order to explore the issues and challenges this raises, for HE teachers and those running professional development programmes, I consider what it means to develop an identity as a teacher within HE and what that identity might be. I discuss the purpose of education in HE, and what excellence in teaching and learning might consist of. Drawing on responses from colleagues and participants on one particular professional development programme I comment on the degree to which such programmes can help HE teachers deal with some of these challenges. As this is a chapter reflecting my personal experience of working in this field, I first set out my own experience and background.