KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

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DIRECTOR
DONNA ELLIS

Current ICED President

Dr Donna Ellis is the Director of the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo in Canada.


DIRECTOR DONNA ELLIS

Since 1994, Dr Donna Ellis has supported teaching development for Waterloo’s instructors at all levels and promoted the importance of teaching and learning at her institution. In her role as director, she oversees the strategic direction of the Centre’s work, which focuses on effective teaching via face-to-face teaching, blended learning, emerging technologies, integrative and experiential learning, Indigenization, decolonization, and anti-racism. The Centre for Teaching Excellence provides individual instructor consultations, workshops and events, online resources, curriculum and program review consultations, and research and evaluation support.

Donna also engages in both research and institutional-level projects about teaching and learning. Her scholarly work focuses on instructional innovations, institutional teaching culture, and leadership of teaching and learning centres. She serves as a reviewer for higher education journals, and has an Adjunct Assistant Professor appointment in Waterloo’s Management Engineering department.

Donna has a strong service commitment to the educational development field. She is the current President of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) and a former president of the U.S.-based Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network.

Futureproofing: The Educational Developer Perspective

Doing educational development work is complicated. At our conference, we will be exploring the complex ecosystems in which we work and the multiple competencies required to excel in our roles. But what underlies these competencies that will help us be prepared now and in the future? In this talk, I will reflect on how we can think about and approach our work, drawing on the concept of mindsets. I will propose and describe key mindsets that I believe serve educational developers well as the foundation for the competencies we need to thrive in ever-evolving higher education ecosystems. In this way, I will argue for what I believe is needed to help futureproof us against the existing and upcoming challenges and complexities of our professional contexts.

I invite you to join me in exploring these ideas.

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PROFESSOR
ANGELA OWUSU-ANSAH

Angela brings more than thirty years of experience in education in Africa and the United States; and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi education honor society.


PROFESSOR ANGELA OWUSU-ANSAH

She's an activist for higher education quality serving on national university accreditation agency Boards such as the Ghana Tertiary Education Council (GTEC) and served 18 years on the United States Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly NCATE).

As an education leader, Angela served as Elon University's Associate Dean of the School of Education and Associate Dean of Access and Success, Samford University's Assistant Dean of Education Assessment, and currently, Ashesi University's Provost. She curates innovative approaches, such as the scholarship of teaching and learning to improve student learning, faculty optimization, and research capacity building to improve higher education experiences and outcomes. She strongly advocates incorporating eLearning because of its benefit to the academically marginalized.

Locally and across Africa, she contributes to Ashesi's collaboration to mentor and share best practices among 70+ African universities to bring about systems change and elevate higher education's impact in Africa. She participates in the thought leadership of framing Ashesi's entrepreneurship ecosystem and Ashesi's Center for African Popular Culture to foster entrepreneurial thinking and appreciation of Africa's value.

Her research interest is in impact evaluation and change in Africa's higher education, specifically digitized higher education instruction, higher education teaching and learning as a science, intercultural understanding among African students, and African women in Higher Education leadership.

Science, Tools, and Purpose in Student Learning

As I observe our university students spend copious “hours at a time” working harder and harder at studying solely to pass exams but not learning, I see the wickedness of the problem. The urgency for a solution cannot be overemphasized with Africa’s higher education sector expanding massively since the 1970s with student enrollments across all levels growing from roughly 200,000 to an estimated 10 million in 2014 (Friesenhahn, 2014, para 3). The illusion of university student learning is likely to be amplified and the transformation of Africa stymied or perhaps regressed.

Vital to tackling such wicked problems is empathy (Eyet, 2022), through which we have found that typically, students, are not taught how to use the science of learning. Not knowing how the brain works prevents students taking advantage of brain process optimize their learning by learning smarter. Additionally, students are not explicitly and comprehensively taught the 21st century tools such as flexibility, adaptation, critical thinking, systems thinking, etc. which help with deep(er) learning and motivation to learn. Also, students with purpose have been found to be the most eQective, eQicient, and driven learners. Purpose includes determination to get their family out of the bottom 20th decile, and determination to graduate because he or she is the first in their family to go to college.

Faculty have a responsibility to student learning and not to teaching for the sake of teaching. Faculty ought to use thought leadership such as the science of teaching and learning to increase the possibility of learning in students. The science of teaching and learning is according to Barr and Taggart (1995) a paradigm shift which requires a change in focus of academic faculty from teaching to learning. According to Boyer (1990), it’s an action that draws on the reciprocal relationship between teaching and learning at the post-secondary level. It’s a process of intentional inquiry into one’s own learning, teaching and assessment practices with a view to enhancing those practices and improve the learning of our students.

Finally, the university has a role to play in student learning by focusing on quality assurance. Quality assurance practiced at the institution is foundational, but universities should also consider an external, normative, and continental or global approach to measuring quality such as credible university ranking.

The sole purpose of universities is to improve society, and that will occur when students are able to appropriately apply or use a skill and true deep learning is occurring, faculty take responsibility for learning, and the university contributes to a society based on the collective wisdom for common good. I will end as I began, with the key unit in higher education, the student. Students studying to pass an exam is good, but it is not enough. Learning and appropriate application in a neverseen-before situation is the goal.

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PROFESSOR
MIKE KURIA

Prof. Mike Kuria is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission for University Education (CUE) in Kenya.



PROFESSOR MIKE KURIA

He served as the founding Secretary General of the East African Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN). Between 2011 and 2015, he coordinated an initiative to develop the East African Community (EAC) regional quality assurance system for higher education, in partnership with DAAD’s Nairobi office. From 2016 - 2022 served as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Inter-university Council for East Africa.

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ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
MAYS IMAD

Mays is a Gardner Institute Fellow and an AAC&U Senior Fellow within the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education. 


ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MAYS IMAD

Dr. Imad’s research focuses on stress, self-awareness, advocacy, and classroom community, and how these impact student learning and success.

She received her doctoral degree in Cellular & Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. She then completed a National Institute of Health-Funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona in the Department of Neuroscience. She joined the department of life & physical sciences at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona as an adjunct faculty member in 2009 and later as a full-time faculty member in 2013. During her tenure at Pima, she taught Physiology, Pathophysiology, Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biomedical ethics. She also founded Pima’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). She is currently teaching at Connecticut College within the Biology Department.

Mays is a Gardner Institute Fellow and an AAC&U Senior Fellow within the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education. Dr. Imad’s research focuses on stress, self-awareness, advocacy, and classroom community, and how these impact student learning and success. Through her teaching and research she seeks to provide her students with transformative opportunities that are grounded in the aesthetics of learning, truth-seeking, justice, and self-realization.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Imad works with faculty members across disciplines at her own institution and across the country to promote inclusive, equitable, and contextual education–all rooted in the latest research on the neurobiology of learning. A nationally-recognized expert on trauma-informed teaching and learning, she passionately advocates for institutions to make mental health a top priority and to systematically support the education of the whole student.

Nurturing Future Legacies: Educational Developers as Catalysts for Justice and Healing within Societal Ecosystems

As our world grapples with an intricate web of crises— from deep-rooted social injustice and global inequalities to environmental challenges with uneven effect on populations across the world, what is the role of higher education, and specifically, educational developers, in shaping not just the next generation of thinkers but also addressing these crises?

In this session, I will argue that our role as educational developers extends far beyond improving pedagogical practices. Our influence should reshape the future of higher education, guiding it towards fostering equity, durability, sustainability, and ultimately, a more beautiful world.

To catalyze this shift, we must collaboratively reevaluate and redefine what constitutes 'success' within our institutions and individual pursuits.

Traditional metrics such as grades, graduation rates, and job placements are undoubtedly important, but these are short-term outcome-oriented markers that do not encompass the full scope of student or societal needs. A longer-term view would argue that higher education often falls short in equipping students for a world that demands more than academic competency or immediate job readiness.

As educational developers, we bear the profound responsibility to redefine what 'success' means in academia. Here, I will argue that a re-imagined notion of success must encapsulate wellbeing, adaptability, and a steadfast commitment to upholding dignity, social justice and environmental stewardship.

Rethinking the role of higher education—and our place within it—starts with understanding our students' needs. They arrive bearing a complex blend of social, economic, and psychological burdens, shaped by historical traumas and systemic inequities.

If our educational frameworks don't account for the complex challenges and traumas our students face, we perpetuate a system that is both unjust and inadequate. We run the risk of sending them out into the world inadequately prepared to navigate both the local and global challenges they will inevitably face.

Educational developers stand at a pivotal juncture to foster enduring change, both within academic realms and the wider society. By broadening our definition of 'success' and creating an educational ecosystem that is responsive to the complex needs of our students, we can leave a legacy that ensures both intergenerational wellbeing and well-doing as transformative foundations within the interconnected ecosystems of higher education.

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ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
KASTURI BEHARI-LEAK

Former ICED President

Dr Kasturi Behari-Leak is Associate Professor in Higher Education Studies and Dean of the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR KASTURI BEHARI-LEAK

She is Director of the Academic Staff and Professional Development Unit in CHED and leads a national collaborative project on academic staff development agency.

As co-chair of the Curriculum Change Working Group, she led university-wide engagements on decolonisation of the curriculum and has published in the field of higher education studies.

She teaches on HES post-graduate programmes and convenes HELTASA’s University Staff Doctoral Programme. She was President of the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa and is Past President of the International Consortium of Educational Development (ICED). She serves on the research advisory committee of the World Universities Network and is part of several national and international research consortia, focused on HE. She serves on editorial boards and advisory groups globally.

AFELT: PRESIDENT

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PROFESSOR WANJA
TENAMBERGEN

Associate Professor of Health Systems Management and AFELT President.

PROFESSOR WANJA TENAMBERGEN

Wanja Tenambergen is an Associate Professor of Health Systems Management. She is the Deputy Vice Chancellor - Academic Affairs at Riara University in Kenya. Prior to her appointment as the DVC Academics at Riara University, she served as the Director of Research, innovation and Extension and a Professor in the Department of Health Systems Management at Kenya Methodist University. Her research interest is in strengthening health systems and quality of learning and teaching at higher learning institutions. Her vision is to provide relevant inputs to the advancement of higher education through transformational teaching & research methods. She advocates for creating partnerships with organizations and local communities to advance quality of learning and research. Wanja has a PhD in Public Health (Health Financing) with over 15 years’ experience in teaching and research in higher education. She has vast experience in managing projects and creating linkages to strengthen training curricula and teaching faculty development.

AFELT: SECRETARY GENERAL

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MARY KIGURU

Mary Kiguru is the ICED24 Coordinator. She is a founder member of AFELT and serves as the executive secretary.

MARY KIGURU

As a learning designer, Mary’s focus is on created learning spaces that promote competency development and equip students to succeed as leaders and find gainful employment. Currently Mary is steering the development of new teaching strategies for faculty that is geared at competency-based learning in higher education. She is co-designer of the Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa (TESCEA) Model. Mary also manages an employability program with Education for All Children, an employability launchpad that works with students from different universities in Kenya.