Conference of the Swiss Faculty Development Network 2021

Am 19.02.2021 in Online
Veranstalter: University of St. Gallen
Kategorie: Tagung

Cultivating an environment of experimentation in teaching and learning: Tensions between coping and design in times of crises and beyond

The 2020s started off with a "bang" in tertiary teaching and learning: A health issue forced higher education institutions across the globe to change their everyday teaching and learning practices towards remote, online modes of instruction.

On the one hand, the emergency-remote approach ensured continuing teaching and learning in 2020, however in same places and situations with a loss in teaching and learning quality (as indicated, e.g., by the loss of a sense of community among students). On the other hand, the spring 2020 situation offers a proof of concept that change in higher education, rough or not, is possible. Most institutions reacted fast, they reacted with fundamental and large-scale digitization efforts, and in hindsight, the changes were largely adaptive.

These experiences lead us to ask further: Do the "big changes" in higher-education teaching and learning necessitate external forces such as the health crisis in 2020?

Even beyond such crises: How can we foster an environment of experimentation and trying out new ideas without such an external force? And more generally: Where in the tension field between coping with external force or dependence and design or autonomy can trying out new ways develop the best? And how?

These and similar questions will guide the 2021 annual conference of the Swiss Faculty Development Network (SFDN) on 19 February 2021. Due to the current situation, the conference will be conducted fully virtual. 

Some of the perspectives relevant to these issues may be (not an exhaustive list):

  • Past, current and future teaching and learning practices including the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and similar approaches
  • Curricular and study program-related topics
  • Institutional levels including institutional strategies and leadership issues
  • Teaching and learning culture in higher education
  • Educational and faculty development practices including the Scholarship of Educational Development and similar approaches as well as the related culture

We would like to invite both practitioners and researchers in educational and academic development, especially, but not limited to, SFDN members, to this conference. Through the conference, we strive to explore the opportunities for creating an environment of experimentation, of “trying out”, and of reflection in higher education, in times of crises and beyond.


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