Germany – DGHD
dghd – German Association for educational and academic staff development in Higher Education
dghd (German Association for Educational and Academic Staff Development in Higher Education) is the association of German speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Its members are institutions or persons that offer academic staff development programmes, teachers in the field of Higher Education or persons or institutions interested in developing the quality of Higher Education. Academic staff development is not mandatory in Germany.
Website is: http://www.dghd.de
dghd is an association with charity status since 2008 and exists as bottom-up network/workgroup (German term is “Arbeitsgemeinschaft”) since 1970. Actually dghd has nearly 300 members mainly from Germany spread over all federal Länder. The budget is 22.000 Euro (=19.700 GBP).
The core activities of dghd are an annual conference, financing the publication of one book per year (sent to all members for free), organizing newsletters, workshops and supporting special interest groups. Actually there is an effort to have an impact on political issues relating to Higher Education and research on teaching and learning in Higher Education (in preparation: task force, statements).
dghd asks a member institution at a University to host the annual conference. Up to now the conferences were more profession oriented with a strong pragmatic orientation with hands-on workshops and more informal-like exchange enriched by keynotes, national and international ones. The new elected board puts effort in integrating the profession with the research orientation which has grown with a ministerial funding line on Higher Education started in 2008/2009.
The last conferences held in Munique in March 2011 already moved towards this shift. The theme was “Research on teaching becomes practice – research findings in Higher Eudcation and their integration in teaching contexts” and there were two international keynotes, one from USA (Assessment for Improvement, A. McCormick, Indiana University) and one from Denmark (PBL, E. Moesby, Aarhus University).
Publication of annual book
There is a programme line called “Blickpunkt Hochschuldidaktik” which exists since the 1990s and in which the annual book is published. The last one’s title was “Fachbezogene und fachübergreifende Hochschuldidaktik” (I have no adequate translation for it, the title relates to educational development that is more discipline-centered and educational development that has a more general approach. There is an ongoing debate on this in Germany). Until now there was no review process. The editors had the responsibility for the quality.
Mail-lists, Newsletters, Special Interest Groups and Networks
dghd sustains a Mailing list, a newsletter and supports Special Interest Groups, local Networks (north-east network) or Networks with special focuses (like the new founded network of PhDs).
Quality processes and debates
There is a growing effort to ensure quality criteria.
An accreditation process with quality criteria has been developed for persons or programmes for staff development. Persons and institutions can apply for the accreditation certificate.
Actually there is a Special Interest Group working on quality criteria for counseling, coaching and supervision formats for staff developers.
There is a debate on quality criteria for teaching portfolios.
A Special Interest Group has worked out a charter for reciprocal recognition of workshops, modules or programmes of staff development.
Answers to questions of James:
A. Please explain an aspect of your network’s activities which you think has been especially successful this year.
The new board is in charge since March. Our priority is to integrate research and profession better within the community. There have been separation movements in the past due to lacking research structures within centers and networks for educational development and to the loss of the “first generation” who is now nearly entirely retired. I think we are on a good way by networking, supporting networks and giving some important stimuli.
B. Please explain a particular difficulty your network experienced this year.
Loss and lacking of research structures and solid carrier paths for young educational developers. Two much third funded projects with short duration (3 years max.), nearly no stable positions
C. In your national higher education context, please consider how you expect your network to develop over the next year.
There is an increasing demand for educational developers but often narrowed to service and support. The crucial question will be “Are we able as association to foster research based structures and to defend our work field as a scientific grounded one with original research needs?”
This will have consequences on how Service and Support Centers will be perceived and if they will be able to develop a good “standing” within the universities research communities.