from learner driver to space engineer, an academic journey?

I have been thinking about how we could visualise the academic journey, what metaphors could work, to help colleagues make sense of it from a learning and teaching perspective and how we as academic developers could offer support and how this would look like. I have found somebody to further develop these ideas shared here, which will  hopefully, become a useful resource for academic developers supporting colleagues on such a path.

There are of course, different pathways and not everybody will or will want to follow the one I mention here that is a formal academic career pathway and becomes progressively more and more competitive…

A recent discussion made me think about this and specifically the role of the Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor. They potential activities around learning and teaching, their value, impact and reach but also their development needs. So I came up with the following:

Lecturer: learner driver

Development: re-active
Probably has to complete the PgCert in HE and will become an FHEA, participates in workshops and staff development activities centrally organised and/or in their faculty
Engagement with some of the learning and generic and discipline-specific learning and teaching literature. Discussion groups may be useful.


image source Lecturer: Confident driver

Development: active
May want to do our MA in HE
Engages in practice-based development, curriculum design and unit, programme leadership, starts mentoring and supporting colleagues therefore can also apply for SFHEA
Makes connections to communities and networks, often external disciplinary ones
Starts engaging in scholarly activities around learning and teaching and disseminates these internally and externally

We can create opportunities for colleagues to co-facilitate and lead staff development centrally, team-teach on our PgCert and MA, engage in peer observations, work on collaborative projects with them. Help colleagues to link to existing networks and communities, internally and externally. Highlight dissemination opportunities (conferences and publications) and do some academic matchmaking (buddy colleagues up with somebody else who has a similar interest, work on a similar learning and teaching issue).

Reader: Astronaut

Development: pro-active
Pushes the boundaries inside and/or outside the institution. Has influence and shapes practices in learning and teaching more widely, could be institution-wide, nationally and/or internationally.

Plays a key role in professional networks and communities. Practice is underpinned by scholarship which is shared regularly through conferences, publications. Supports, and mentors colleagues regularly internally and/or externally and their work is recognised nationally, at least. This could be through invitations to facilitate workshops, keynotes, participate in projects and collaborative research or other scholarly activities.

We can promote their work internally and externally through our networks and communities, create a platform for them. Identify further opportunities for growth also in collaboration with Research and Knowledge Exchange and other internal and external services. This could be related to book publications, special issues, sabbaticals, fellowships and larger-scale learning and teaching projects.

image source Space engineer

Development: hyper-active (?, is there a better term? there must be one!)
Breaks the boundaries and is a real leader in a specific area of learning and teaching. Has definitely wide reach and impact that stretches far beyond the institution and is known in the field as a leading expert.

We can support some of their activities through offering consultancy, we could also collaborate with Professors as partners in larger scale projects and carry out research jointly. TO CONTINUE HERE…