Keynote Speakers

Prof. Graham Gibbs


In my commentary for IJAD on the changing nature of educational development (Gibbs, 2013) I attempted to articulate both the range of practices and orientations that the development of teaching in higher education consists of today, and the evolution of those practices over four decades. I wrote this from the perspective of someone who has seen many very different kinds of educational development, both institutional and national, in very varied contexts. My own practice, and my own understanding of what is worth doing, have evolved. I do things now that I would not have known how to do when I started, but also that I would not have been able to conceive of. And I do not do things now that I spent a lot of time on then, and believed in wholeheartedly at the time. Rather than simply recount my current understanding of this confusing world I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the journey involved: the moments of sudden insight or panic, the challenging events, that have shaped me as an educational developer. We try hard to justify what we do on rational and scholarly grounds. Sometimes our scholarly knowledge informs how we perceive and act in our working lives. But sometimes understanding comes with hindsight as we seek explanations for disorienting experiences. Let me tell you a story...

Prof. Graham Gibbs retired from his position as Professor and Director of the Oxford Learning Institute, University of Oxford, in 2008. He was the founder of ICED, of the International Improving Student Learning Symposium, that held its 20th meeting in Lund in 2012, and of an international network of research-intensive universities that last met in Oslo in 2012. He has led teaching development units within very different kinds of university, since 1980, and has undertaken educational development consultancy in over 160 universities worldwide, including many times in Stockholm. He has received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University and a Doctorem Honoris Causa from the University of Utrecht, for his leadership of the improvement of university teaching. He is currently a Professor at the University of Winchester where he is helping to establish mechanisms through which students act as educational researchers and change agents to improve teaching in their own departments.