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Promoting culture of professional development as educators in an Asian higher education institution
It is important to promote academic staff’s identity as educator and the culture of professional development in teaching. Academic staff may have reservation in having indepth critical discussion about teaching and learning practices that challenge the norm for fear of making professional enemies when being critical of colleagues’ views. This can be even more prevalent in the Asian context where people tend to reserve their critique or concerns and not raise them openly. Through creating a holistic framework and regular opportunities for academic staff to attend teaching and learning conferences, opportunities were created to learn and network with fellow educators who are innovative and passionate in the field of teaching and learning. This also offers opportunities to challenge and discuss how current practices can be change. The project was developed through a lens of network theory, by supporting the weak links between clusters of individuals to introduce significant conversations and networks on higher education. Phase of one involved strategically setting the institution policy, framework and budget to include regular opportunities for attending educational conferences. Phase two included sending academic staff to attend educational conferences and completing surveys pre, immediately post and 6-month post-conferences. Several were interviewed on their perspectives gained. Results suggested that by creating new teaching networks, it helped to improve teaching and learning practices. The article presents an example of a strategic education development work that sought to achieve long-term transformation and change through implementation of university policy, while acknowledging educators’ concerns and identities.