Developing new academics’ self-perception as agents of change: a cross-disciplinary case study


This paper reviews a project run within a university Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE). The project, implementing changes in content and delivery of a PGCHE module, Innovation in Learning and Teaching, had three purposes. These were to promote peer learning among new lecturers and teachers (PGCHE participants) engaged in curriculum change; to increase institutional dissemination of the projects they had undertaken and the resources they had developed; and develop a framework for interdisciplinary exchange of expertise and interest. The aim was also to explore the effect of peer learning on participants’ own perception of their role as agents of change. The focus is on evaluating the impact of changes made to one module in response to specific concerns. Prior to the revision of the module, Innovation in Learning and Teaching, very few participants enrolled; those who did worked largely in isolation. The changes made to the module included the use of interdisciplinary learning sets; greater involvement of mentors; accessing literature on evaluation; a greater use of technology. These changes resulted in a number of outcomes. Participants developed strong and lasting peer networks beyond their academic departments, with a consequent impact on their developing professional identity. The teaching team felt it was useful to have a forum encouraging participants to explore and engage in curriculum innovation, and essential to have more robust processes to engage participants’ colleagues and students in evaluating the impact of each project. Many projects continued to be developed and become more widely disseminated.
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