Category News for Members

European Conference on SoTL, University College Cork, June 8-9 2015


Many educational development initiatives emphasize a scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) approach, but what does this mean, in theory and in practice? How can the scholarship of teaching and learning help to tackle some of the key challenges higher education is currently facing, and help institutions and academics stay focused on quality student learning?

The inaugural EuroSoTL conference, a regional event of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, will take place in University College Cork in June 2015. The conference will address these general themes and is open to all Higher Education staff and students with an interest in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.


Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Kathy Takayama, President of ISSOTL Executive Director of the Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning and Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, USA “Authentic inquiry in STEM through collaborative e-Portfolios”
  • Professor Veronica Bamber, Chair of the QAA ‘Student Transitions’ Enhancement theme and Director of the Centre for Academic Practice in Queen Margaret University, UK Making the most of SoTL to support students in the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate taught students”
  • Professor Joelle Fanghanel, Professor of Higher Education and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development & Scholarship), University of West London, UK “Defining and supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning: a sector-wide study”


Plenary Panel: “Conceptions of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning“
Discussions based around video contributions by:

  • Professor Pat Hutchings, Senior Associate and former Vice President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, USA
  • Professor Mick Healey, Higher Education consultant and researcher, and Emeritus Professor, University of Gloucestershire, UK


Call for abstracts

The call for abstracts is just out and registration has recently opened. We welcome submissions of emerging, ongoing, or well-established work, and interested participants are invited to submit a 300 word abstract for a paper, poster, workshop/panel or Pecha-Kucha style presentation to The deadline for abstract submission is February 22nd 2015. Please go to for further details and to download the abstract submission form.

Questions to be addressed might include:

– How can SoTL help bridge boundaries between languages, cultures, nations, or between academia and society?

– What role does SoTL play in supporting interdisciplinary work?

– How can SoTL inform the changing roles and expectations of students and teachers in higher education?

– Is SoTL assisting the cultural shift involved in building digital literacy?

– How can SoTL inform key transitions in the student’s journey?



Early bird registration rates are available up to March 15th 2015, and there is a further discount available to ISSOTL members. Click here to register for the conference.


For further information please contact the following:

Dr Bettie Higgs                          [E]:                              [T]: 021 4904578

Dr Catherine O’Mahony             [E]:          [T]: 021 4904690



SFDN-Workshop with Prof. Eric Mazur @ ETH (Nov., 28th 2014)

Prof. Eric Mazur: Flat space – deep learning



Based on the principles of backward course design (Wiggins & McTigh, 2005) Eric Mazur presented the redesign of his own course at Harvard. He promoted the backward course design approach that recommends to start “with the end in mind” by defining desired learning outcomes of a course at first.

The next step is about planning ways to measure the learning outcomes with “acceptable evidence”, and finally thinking about a suitable “instructional approach” that relies on the principle of students having the ownership of learning (November, 2012), and collaboration as a perfect way to develop knowledge and skills.

Therefore, he changed his course from a lecture into a course based on a team and project-based approach. Mazur mentioned that redesigning a course must be seen as a long-term process, and couldn’t be finished after one semester. He gave an inside view in the process of the planning process, and the realization of his didactic concept at Harvard.


Mazur@ETH-06 IMG_1504

Slides of the presentation:



Tool for Peer Instruction:

Team Based Learning:

Resources  concerning Mazur’s course “AP50”:

nb (notabene) – an annotation taking tool online:



Grant P. Wiggins & Jay McTigh (2005). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Alan November (2012). Who owns the learning? Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree Press.


Mazur@ETH-04 Mazur@ETH-05






SIG University Teaching Education

The SIG University teaching education aims to create a space where practitioners and researchers can share and reflect together practical concerns, so that together generate ways to face current and forthcoming challenges in this area. This SIG have also the mission to identify cross-institutional concerns and support the development of collaborative projects.

A virtual space was created to facilitate the exchange and reflection among the members (SWITCH toolbox platform).

If you have any question, comment or are interested in participate in the SIG activities please contact Vania Guerra (



Successful Kick off meeting of SIG University Teaching Education

Dear SFDN members,

The past friday 31st October was taking place the kick off meeting of our SIG University Teaching Education. 6 enthusiastic SFDN members worked together during 3 hours, where we shared our interests and through an interesting and intense discussion we built a common understanding of the goal of our SIG, how we will start working and some visions about what we are aiming at.

impressions from a nice and intensive work session… (Photos: Monica Feixas)

We want to thank Monica Feixas for her participation and the documentation of the event! That’s why we can not see her in the pics ;).

For more information about our meeting and our activities you can contact Vania Guerra ( or go to the SIG section were we will be posting soon the minutes and more information about our internal activities.


SIG University Teaching Education – Kick off meeting

We are happy to announce that next 31st October at 9:00 held the kick off meeting of the new SFDN-SIG University Teaching Education will be held.  A group of SFDN members interested in this topic will meet in Zurich to set the basis of the SIG, discuss and define its goals and activities.

If you are interested in joining this meeting or need any information don’t hesitate to contact Vania Guerra (, you can also post your comments or suggestions here.

Lund visits Lausanne


Talk: “How to recognize excellence in teaching? The experience of Lund’s University” 

Anders Ahlberg from Lund University will explore this subject at the University of Lausanne (Salle Herbette, Unicentre) on Thursday, September 25 2014, starting 12:15 p.m.


The presentation will be followed by a small snack, so please inform Elisabeth Fournier (elisabeth.fournier at if you would like to attend the event.


Jacques Lanarès, Vice-president for Quality and Human Resources at Unil, in the original invitation to the event:

“Nos collègues ont développé plusieurs projets pour  valoriser l’ enseignement et notamment une forme de certification  qui vise à évaluer les compétences en ‘enseignement avec les mêmes exigences que celles appliquées à la recherche. Ils ont maintenant plusieurs années d’expérience et ce sera très intéressant de pouvoir en discuter avec Anders.”


Université de Lausanne

Copyright: Université de Lausanne

University of Basel Launches MBA in Academic Management

The University of Basel offers a new innovative international degree programme that aims at professionalising higher education management at the interface of science and administration on all hierarchy levels of a modern university. The MBA in Academic Management is aimed at academics from all disciplines. It starts in November 2014 for the first time. The language of instruction is English.
This part-time, internationally oriented degree programme provides academics with the opportunity of high level continuing education and to obtain an additional qualification in university management. The degree programme takes a bit more than two years (including final thesis) and consists of two modules. Module 1 focuses on the professional management of the key areas of university work – research and teaching – taking into account personnel development and quality assurance.Module 2 focuses on the strategic management and continued development of a higher education institution, taking into account quality development, governance, controlling, and profile formation. The degree programme corresponds to a total of 63 ECTS credit points, one third of which are acquired in face-to-face seminars. The seminars take place once a month in blocks of two to three days.

Further information
Gerhild Tesak, Programme Manager MBA in Academic Management, Head of Educational Staff Development Unit at the Vice-Rectorate for Teaching and Development
phone: +41 61 267 12 32, email: gerhild.tesak(at)

2nd Meeting SIG Curriculum Development

Second meeting of the SIG “Curriculum Development”

on the following Topics:

  • further presentations on the practice of curriculum development at your universities
  • how to build curricula which really enhance competences of the students
  • Change Management for curriculum revisions

In order to save time to discuss the second and third topic we would like to ask you to prepare a lightning talk (5 min, at least 5 slides or 1 poster) about your practice of curriculum development at your university. Please contact  if you are interested in attending and maybe in presenting your practice.