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Bente Mosgaard Jørgensen

The Case of CUL

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The Case of CUL (Centre for Teaching and Learning), School of Business and
Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark: Dilemmas in Large Scale Educational Development

Ole Lauridsen, Torben Jensen, Maja Hjerrild, Bente Jørgensen, Aarhus University.

When developmental work within the area of HE pedagogy goes from small scale to large scale, it changes character and new challenges arise. The session invites directors of developmental units and all interested educational developers to discuss dilemmas of such a transition and exchange experiences with the aim of ameliorating the work of pedagogical units. The basis will be the case of CUL and the attendees’ own experiences. Case from 2004 to 2011 CUL has developed from two small units with only a few employees and a limited range of voluntary courses into a centre with 13 full-time employees offering mandatory courses for faculty at all career levels. These courses comprise: (i) supervision and mentoring, educational ICT, teaching in the multicultural/multilingual classroom (for associate and full professors); (ii) planning/developing courses; teaching techniques (for assistant professors); (iii) teaching techniques (for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), Ph.D. students, part-time lecturers).

Furthermore, CUL participates in the development of courses and quality policies and strategies; also it conducts analyses and other research within the area of university pedagogy for the School and for Aarhus University as a whole.

School of Business and Social Sciences has7 departments, 17,000 students, 522 full-time faculty, 236 Ph.D. students and about 800 parttime lecturers, including GTAs.

The work of the centre is based upon a number of strategic choices made during its development: (1) At a university where research is considered more important than teaching, the centre itself must create a demand for pedagogical development; (2) The reputation and the legitimacy of the centre must be created through its courses: i.e. bottom-up; (3) In order to
change the teaching practices, special importance is attached to the power and culture bearing senior faculty; (4) The centre is financed by the dean through ‘taxation’ of the departments;(5) The activities of the centre are written into the educational policy and strategy of the School; (6) The clout of the centre stems from a close alliance with the top management that fully
support and promotes the development work; (7) Most courses are mandatory and thus part of the job description/job contract; and (8) The role of the centre is to act as a change agent within the organisation, and also – but not only – to be a critical friend for the individual teachers.
The session will discuss dilemmas in development work such as (a) Voluntary, motivated course participation vs. mandatory course participation; (b) The role of a pedagogical unit as a critical friend vs. as a change agent; (c) Freedom of teaching vs. pedagogical leadership; and (d) The problems of proving the impact of the centre’s efforts vs. management support.

Keywords: pedagogical courses, faculty, organisation, managemental support
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventInternational Consortium for Educational Development 2012 - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 23 Jul 201225 Jul 2012


ConferenceInternational Consortium for Educational Development 2012

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