Developing Pedagogical Expertise Across Institutions: event report

Camille Kandiko Howson, Associate Professor of Education, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

The Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship hosted a one-day event on ‘Developing Pedagogical Expertise Across Institutions’ on Friday 27 September 2019. Leaders of teaching and learning from across the country debated and discussed a national framework for developing pedagogical research. The day featured a presentation on the Office for Students (OfS)-funded project “Maximising Student Success through the Development of Self-Regulation”, by Professor Carol Evans from the University of Birmingham. Carol identified ways to support students’ ability to become independent learners, which is challenged by regulatory pressures to treat education as a service, and how to develop research-informed integrated assessment.




The suite of taught programmes run by the Educational Development Unit, including the MEd in Undergraduate Learning and Teaching featured as a showcase of an structured approach to supporting pedagogical research tailored to a specific institutional context. Professor Martyn Kingsbury explained how the flexible nature of the suite of programmes has led to increased engagement from academics and staff in learning and teaching roles.
Prof Christina Hughes presented on the ‘Legacy of LEGACY’, another OfS-funded project exploring the development of methods to measure learning gain at a national scale. Christina highlighted the methodological challenges of measuring student learning and the importance of disciplinary context. The project identified how engaging with students, as researchers, via research-based surveys and instruments and through research and support benefited student learning.

The day concluded with a workshop run by Dr Camille Kandiko Howson and Carol Evans on the ‘Future of Pedagogical Research’, exploring:

    • REF-able pedagogical research
    • Key stakeholders, audience and outcomes of pedagogical research
    • Reward and recognition for pedagogical research
    • Quality, standards and ethics
    • Supporting and developing pedagogical research

The workshop explored how criteria for the REF applied to pedagogical research, particularly the shift in REF 2021 to allowing for impact within home institutions for pedagogical research. We also analysed additional models and typologies balancing theoretical and methodological rigour with practitioner relevance, levels of scholarship and impact. Participants fed back that ‘the balance of speakers and activities worked really well and I found the activity around different perspectives very engaging’ and ‘the day was very engaging’.

The workshop concluded with discussion of future areas of research, the need to identify key stakeholder communities and to engage educational leaders at the intersection of pedagogical research and institutional support. Research into pedagogy is continuing with Centre researchers with publications in draft and through research and evaluation as part of the Imperial Learning and Teaching Strategy.