This week I spoke at the SEDA conference in Bristol on the theme of Creativity in Educational Development. I was very grateful for the opportunity as it gave me a reason to discover how educational developers perceived creativity and how they used their creativity in their work. The idea of development is also close to me as I consider my life is a process of continuous development some of which I intentionally orchestrate and some of which is more accidental or opportunistic.
Furthermore, all the roles I have performed in my career have a strong developmental basis and many have involved me in explicitly developmental roles for the organisations I have worked for.
As I see it, the wicked problem facing all universities, is fundamentally a developmental challenge focused on the question of 'how we prepare learners for the challenges they will face in their future lives'. Nested in this challenge is the developmental problem of how teachers and other professionals directly involved in student development develop themselves so that they can support and enable students to develop themselves so that they can act effectively in the future worlds they will inhabit. For institutional leaders the developmental challenge is concerned with the continual process of change so that the people who work in the organisation are able to engage effectively with this challenge. People who work in a developmental role fulfil a unique role in enabling the institution to meet this challenge. Fundamentally this is a story of development - at personal, professional, curriculum, infrastructure and whole institution levels and what I want to discover is how personal creativity contributes to this process.
To prepare for my talk I created, over about four months, an ecology that is represented in the illustration. It involved conducting two surveys to try and discover the beliefs of educational developers. I am very grateful for everyone who took the time and effort to get involved and I have identified people who gave me particular support and encouragement and te sort of feedback we need to progress our thinking. It is lonely life being a developer and we need the emotional and intellectual support of others to sustain and expand our learning projects.
I have documented the results of the surveys which are consistent with other studies I have made relating to perceptions of creativity in higher education. My hope is that my presentation will lead to the involvement of more developers in the process and to new as yet unimagined possibilities and opportunities.