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Teaching and learning: Educational development for a whole university

CHEF Talk (webinar) – free and open to all

2021.01.04 | CHEF

Date Tue 23 Mar
Time 15:00 16:00
Location Zoom

Speakers: Associate Professor Sarah Robinson & Director Anne Mette Mørcke, both Centre for Educational Development, Aarhus University, Denmark  

Chair: Dr Søren S.E. Bengtsen, Co-Director of CHEF, Aarhus University, Denmark 

Time: March 23rd, 2021, at 15.00-16.00 Central European Time (CET) 

Place: A Zoom-link will be shared with registered participants before the event


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In October 2020, the four faculty based pedagogical centres at Aarhus University were amalgamated as one ‘Centre for Educational Development’. This research-based pedagogical centre is situated to service university faculty in an era when teaching is emerging from a shadowy background. The centre is seeking to find a position to start conversations about teaching and learning with faculty. Its vision is to lead and support faculty to equip students to become critical thinkers, to be collaborative and co-creative and to be able to solve problems to which the answers are unknown. This talk raises the question, what should such a centre do to engage faculty in discussions about teaching and learning for a new and better future?

Research and teaching are regarded as the twin pillars of the university. Inside the disciplines, academics are employed because of their research profiles and interests. Research impact is measured, among other things, by publications in ranked journals and a university’s international reputation is ranked by these and other internal and external systems. Teaching has then become the shadow twin to the more prominent and ‘noisy’ other twin.

And yet teaching is central to the university’s mission, as it is the vehicle by which new generations become equipped to be citizens of the future. Often, teaching has not been ignored entirely. The importance of university teaching has increasingly become of interest to national governments whose policies have focused on standardization and accreditation, even to the ‘usefulness’ of a degree, teaching for a knowledge society, for relevance and employability etc. It is therefore clear that teaching may not be relegated to the back seat of the university vehicle. Forces inside the university are understandably critical of the political interference in what is often an instrumental and non-productive view of how the university should carry out its teaching. Given this larger context, a central concern of the centre is how to raise the profile of teaching, while not bowing to instrumental practices in teaching.