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IJAD Article of the Year 2020

Julie A. Timmermans & Kathryn A. Sutherland (2020) are the winners of the IJAD 2020 Article of the Year Award for ‘Wise academic development: learning from the ‘failure’ experiences of retired academic developers’, International Journal for Academic Development, 25(1), 43-57, DOI:

Judges’ Citation

This article grabs the reader from the very first line. Written with humanity and humility, it sheds light on an underexplored area of the academic development experience. Acknowledging the importance of ‘failure’ in learning processes, and demystifying it by investigating and writing about it, will help many of us to deal with our own perceived failures more constructively. The article thereby turns what might be seen as deep sources of shame into profound resources for learning. Academic development is a hard place to practice, given the precarity of the field around the world and the vagaries of higher education that developers need to navigate on a continual basis. The focus on academic developers is important not least because it represents the need for our profession to exercise more self-care. The article offers insights, reassurance, and, as the title suggests, wisdom that we can all learn from; the writing speaks not only to the head but also to the heart, and the authors’ way of carefully honouring the “wisdom of the elders” is a fantastic approach. It provides a stellar model for us of creative ways to conduct and present academic development research—research that informs us, moves us, and goes a long way towards building resilience in the field