QUES Keynote Presenter
We are pleased to announce that Professor Sally Kift will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 QUES Conference, presenting:
Not drowning, waving: Sustaining the Learning and Teaching Focus in a post-OLT world
It might fairly be observed that learning and teaching (L&T) in Australian higher education (HE) is currently weathering some turbulent times (Kift, 2018). Our sector is scrambling to deal with endemic disruption – visited upon it by policy changes, funding instability, aggressive competition, QILT performance transparency, technological change, and shifting student demographics and expectations. And these challenges are exacerbated by doubts now expressed about the very relevance of formal academic credentials: are they germane preparation for an unknowable world of future work? It is clear that some of this is symptomatic of an international and popularist groundswell keen to see the prevailing social contract between universities, government, industry, and society re-negotiated in the face of a “loss of trust in institutions and the growth of anti-intellectualism” (Harding, 2018), but that doesn’t help much. Such an unsympathetic environment does help explain however why it is that any L&T response to allegations of sector irrelevance and misalignment must now be self-generated and will no longer be underwritten by any federal enhancement fund; ameliorating pedagogical research and development is squarely up to us to pursue or not at our peril.
This presentation will argue, somewhat paradoxically, that it is exactly these challenges that present those of us toiling away virtuously in L&T land with sustaining hope for a continued focus on educational quality and innovation. As is obviously imperative, our sector, discipline, and institutional learning leaders are now regrouping, with fresh agency and purpose, to leverage the rich legacy of pedagogical innovation and excellence that has stood Australian HE in such good stead for so many years. In these endeavours, it is critical to understand that our L&T advocates and change agents are deeply embedded in our institutions and also permeate the professions. They are (obviously) our Teaching Award Winners, our Fellowship and Grants recipients, and our (Q)PENs, but they are also our students and recent graduates, and our industry and employer groups. It will be argued that our pedagogical future is bright if so inclusively conceptualised, as it will demand our full and collective resources to collaborate on, and co-create for, graduate success and its (and our own) future proofing.