Promoting lifelong professional development in geographical education: developing the scholarship of teaching in higher education in the 21st century

Invited paper presented to the plenary session of the 29th International Geographical Congress, on "Developing Geographical Educators for the 21st Century", 14-18th August 2000, Seoul, Korea

Mick Healey

Geography and Environmental Management Research Unit, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, UK
Email: mhealey@chelt.ac.uk
http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/

Abstract

Whereas the global march towards the professional development of geography teachers in schools was, perhaps, the major achievement in geographical education of the 20th century, promoting the professional development of geography teachers in higher education is, I would argue, one of the major challenges that faces us for the 21st century. What little educational development is currently provided for university teachers is largely generic. There is a need for a disciplinary specific component in educational development, both for initial training and continuing professional development (CPD).

This paper explores how the professional development of university geography teachers is related to the international debate about developing the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. A baseline level of scholarship involves staff being familiar not only with the latest ideas in their subject, but also being aware of current ideas for teaching that subject, and evaluating and reflecting on the student learning which follows their teaching. Teachers in higher education may aspire to different levels of scholarship. Only a small proportion of them are likely to wish to engage in major pedagogic research projects, although many more may be encouraged to analyse the outcomes of their teaching and to investigate the learning that takes place in their classes. If teaching in higher education is to be valued by the academy as highly as research then there needs to be comparability of rigour, standards and esteem. To be scholarly, teachers need to use the same kind of thought processes in their teaching that they apply to their research. It needs to be public and hence open to critical review and evaluation.

Several recent initiatives for promoting the lifelong professional development of university geography teachers through developing the scholarship of teaching and learning are discussed. I wish to argue that before we are too far into the 21st century:

"the teacher is ahead of his apprentices in this alone, that he has still far more to learn than they - he has to learn to let them learn"

(Heidegger)

INTRODUCTION

Whereas the global march towards the professional development of geography teachers in schools was perhaps the major achievement in geographical education of the 20th century, promoting the professional development of geography teachers in higher education is, I would argue, one of the major challenges that faces us for the 21st century.

The professional development of geography teachers in higher education is multi-faceted and includes the teaching, researching, counselling and administering functions that most university teachers engage with during their careers. Some teachers may also become involved in consultancy and community service activities. However, apart from the initial training in research that most teachers in higher education obtain through taking a postgraduate research degree, they receive little formal professional development and largely learn 'on the job.' Even when staff are newly appointed a recent survey of geography departments in the UK found that 45 per cent do not have a formal process of departmental induction (Newby, 2000).

While recognising that the different activities in which teachers are involved are closely interrelated, and that one of the biggest challenges for individuals, departments and institutions is how to balance the various roles that teachers play at different stages in their careers (Brunn, 1990), this paper concentrates primarily on the development of the teaching function. Professional development for teaching involves keeping up to date with one's subject and keeping up-to-date with how one's subject is taught. Here I wish to focus on the latter, in other words on the initial training for teaching geography in higher education and the subsequent continuing professional development (CPD) of university geography teachers.

Currently few geography teachers in higher education participate in significant amounts of either initial teacher training or CPD. However, I wish to argue in this keynote address that before we are too far into the 21st century:

In the remainder of this presentation I would like to start by putting the professional development of geographical educators into the wider context of developing the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. I shall then examine some recent initiatives that are attempting to develop initial training courses and CPD activities and resources for university teachers of geography. I shall end by arguing that national geography organisations and international geography networks have a key role to play in promoting the lifelong learning of university geography teachers by supporting and developing professional development courses and workshops and discussing, disseminating and publishing information about the scholarship of teaching and learning geography in higher education.1

In preparing this address I carried out a survey, through contacting national International Geographical Union (IGU) representatives, to ascertain the ways that national geography organisations support the development of their members who teach in higher education. It appears from the responses, that relatively little is as yet going on outside the US and the UK; thus most of my examples are taken from these two countries. This is not to suggest that these are practices that other countries should necessarily follow. Every country needs to find its own way of supporting the professional development of geography educators in higher education, which fits with the situation they face, the culture of the country and the resources available. I hope, however, that the examples may stimulate some discussion and encourage others to develop their own approaches. I should note that so far I have only had replies from 21 organisations and there may well be interesting activities going on in other countries of which I am unaware; in which case I would be delighted to learn about them.2

DEVELOPING THE SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING AND LEARNING GEOGRAPHY IN HIGHER EDUCATION

The scholarship of teaching and learning

In a climate of competitive accountability that characterises much of higher education today, there are indications from several countries that the support and development of the teaching function of universities is beginning to receive more attention than it did say 10-20 years ago. For example, in the States, there has been a rapid growth in the last five years in the programmes run by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; in the UK, the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILT) was founded in 1999 in response to one of the recommendations in the Dearing Inquiry into higher education (NCIHE, 1997); in Hong Kong, the scholarship of teaching has been included in their research assessment exercise (French et al., 1999); while in Australia Boyer's framework has been used as a way of understanding diversity in higher education (Kemmis et al., 1999). At the international level, the International Consortium of Educational Development in Higher Education (ICED) was founded in 1993.

Part of the rationale for the growth in interest in teaching has been an international debate which began during the 1990s about the scholarship of teaching.3 The most influential proponents of the need to move away from an emphasis on disciplinary research as the single form of scholarship recognized in academe, are the late Ernest Boyer and his colleagues at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Boyer, 1990; Glassick et al., 1997; Hutchings and Schulman, 1999; Schulman, 1993; 1999). They argue that there is a need to give scholarship a broader meaning so as to define the work of university teachers in ways that enrich, rather than restrict, the quality of undergraduate education. Central to their argument is the view that "the time has come to move beyond the tired old teaching versus research debate and give the familiar and honourable term scholarship a broader and more capacious meaning, one that brings legitimacy to the full scope of academic work" (Boyer, 1990). They identify four separate, but overlapping areas of scholarship: the scholarship of discovery research; the scholarship of integration, including the writing of textbooks; the scholarship of service, including the practical application of knowledge; and the scholarship of teaching.

Despite calling for greater attention to be given to the scholarship of teaching, Boyer (1990) does not attempt to give an operational definition. A review of subsequent discussions about the meaning of the term by Martin et al. (1999) identifies a consensus that the scholarship of teaching involves three essential and integrated elements: engagement with the scholarly contributions of others on teaching and learning; reflection on one's own teaching practice and the learning of students within the context of a particular discipline; and communication and dissemination of aspects of practice and theoretical ideas about teaching and learning in general and teaching and learning within the discipline. It is significant that two of these elements refer explicitly to developing scholarship within the context of one's discipline.

Developing the scholarship of teaching is more than striving to be an excellent teacher or being scholarly (Cambridge, 1999; Hutchings and Schulman, 1999). Whereas striving for excellence involves a high level of proficiency in stimulating students and fostering their learning in a variety of appropriate ways; a scholarly approach to teaching entails being familiar with the latest ideas in one's subject and also being informed by current ideas for teaching that subject. A scholarly approach also involves evaluating and reflecting on one's teaching practice and the student learning which follows. The scholarship of teaching shares these characteristics of excellent and scholarly teaching, but in addition involves communicating and disseminating about the teaching and learning practices of one's subject. It also entails investigating questions related to how students learn within a discipline (Healey, 2000b). Given this broad definition it is now common, at least in the US, to talk about the scholarship of teaching and learning. This recognises that while a focus on teaching necessarily includes learning the reverse is not necessarily true (Schulman, 2000). Teachers in higher education may aspire to different levels of scholarship. Only a small proportion of them are likely to wish to engage in major pedagogic research projects, although many more may be encouraged to analyse the outcomes of their teaching and to investigate the learning that takes place in their classes. Although as Huber (1999, 1) notes, "Our colleagues may care deeply about their courses, their students, and their department's curriculum, but do not usually see their own teaching and learning as a matter for scholarly enquiry and communication."

Developing the scholarship of teaching and learning in geography is an international issue, but the way the argument is played out varies between countries. For example, in the US the issue of faculty roles and rewards is important (Abler et al., 1994), while in the UK the discussion of the relationship between research and teaching and the impact of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) has dominated the debate (Healey, 1997; 1998b; Jenkins, 1995; 2000a; J M Consulting and Associates, 2000). In the remainder of this section I wish to comment briefly on three aspects of the development of the scholarship of teaching and learning geography in higher education: the application of scholarship in teaching, the status of teaching and the complementary nature of teaching and research.

Developing the application of scholarship in teaching

A scholarly approach to teaching involves all aspects of teaching, including the design, delivery and assessment of the curriculum and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the instruction the students receive. Such an approach has been advocated in geography by Jenkins (1998: 95-96) in writing about designing the curriculum in geography departments in higher education. He argues that "teaching and curriculum design is an act of scholarship, and that as academics when we teach we demonstrate the value of universities to society and immediately our students by the extent to which we are aware of and use the conversations on the scholarship of the curriculum. If we treat curriculum design as something that can be done by common sense, knowledge and experience, why should we expect others to value the knowledge we have developed on the substantive areas we teach?"

To be scholarly, academics need to use the same kind of thought processes in their teaching that they apply to their research (Elton, 1992). A good example of this concerns lecturing. There is a wealth of literature which shows the limitations for student learning of lecturing continuously for 55 minutes or more (Bligh, 1998). Yet many staff continue to teach in this way and lectures of this kind remain the most common learning experience for many students in higher education. A scholarly approach to teaching would involve becoming familiar with this literature and acting on its findings. This does not necessarily mean reading the original research studies (although most lecturers encourage the students studying their options to do this), but it should at least mean reflecting on the theory and practice of lecturing applied to one's discipline. Agnew and Elton (1998) provide a readable and practical account of how students' learning in geography lectures may be enhanced by integrating activities into the sessions.

Developing the status of teaching

The idea of scholarship in teaching is an attractive one to those who are keen to see improvement in the status of teaching in higher education institutions (HEIs). The argument made is that teaching too can be the most scholarly of pursuits. However, if teaching is to be valued by the academy equally with research then, like research, teaching must open itself to the scrutiny of theoretical perspectives, methods, evidence and results (Martin, et al., 1999). Gibbs (1995; 1999) has taken this view further. He argues that for every process that supports quality in research, there is a parallel process that can be used to support quality in teaching. The theme behind this is that if teaching is to be taken as seriously as research and to receive similar rewards there is a need for it to be more public and open to evaluation by peers (Table 1).

The most significant of the processes for enhancing quality, according to Gibbs (1995), is the reward for teaching excellence, for both individuals and departments. The need to give more emphasis to valuing teaching more highly in allocating staff rewards in geography is also emphasised by the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Their statement recommends that "competent teaching - verified by vigorous peer review - be a necessary condition of retention and advancement in all professional positions in geography in all academic institutions. Teaching should be valued more highly in allocating faculty rewards than it has been for the last several decades, especially in relation to discovery (research)" (Abler, et al., 1994: 14-15).

Table 1: Quality enhancement processes for research and for teaching


For quality in research For quality in teaching
Selecting and appointing excellent researchers Selecting and appointing (potentially) excellent teachers
Training in the scholarship of research Training in the scholarship of teaching
Peer review of research proposals Peer review of course proposals
Funding for research projects Funding for teaching projects
Good research facilities Good teaching facilities
Reading and discussing the literature Reading and discussing the literature
Co-operative research in teams Co-operative teaching in teams
Presenting accounts of research in progress Presenting accounts of teaching in progress
Peer review of publications Peer review of teaching
Reward, recognition and promotion for excellence in research Reward, recognition and promotion for excellence in teaching

Source: Gibbs (1995: 151)

Developing the complementary nature of teaching and research

Departments are faced with increasing pressures to perform well in research and to generate increased income from research and consultancy, while at the same time providing high quality teaching. If the development of the scholarship of teaching and learning is to make progress it is important to develop the complementary nature of these various activities.4 In this section I will focus on developing the benefits for teaching of staff involvement in research.5 If these are to be maximised it is a process that may need to be managed.

The relationship between undergraduate teaching quality and research quality (usually taken as approximately synonymous with Boyer's discovery scholarship) has attracted much attention in recent years and has led to many claims on both sides of the argument (Gibbs, 1995; Johnston, 1996a), some of which unfortunately seem to be based on little more than anecdotal evidence. Some of this debate has been specifically about geography (Healey, 1997, 1999; Jenkins, 2000a). On the one hand, it is asserted that the best teaching and learning in geography is led by the best researchers (Cooke, 1998) and that there is a strong correlation between where the best geography research is done and where the best teaching is available (Johnston, 1996b). On the other hand, it has been argued that in the UK the competition induced by the RAE has had deleterious effects on the quality of undergraduate teaching in geography (Jenkins, 1995).

A slightly different interpretation is taken by Brew and Boud (1995a, b). They argue that an attempt to find a relationship between teaching and research is confounded by different conceptions of the two enterprises. They suggest that if there is a link between the two, it operates through the element which they have in common, the act of learning. Research, they argue, is a process of learning or discovery, while teaching is concerned with facilitating learning. The processes which students go through in learning are, they argue, similar to the processes of research. This may help to explain the common assumption that researchers make the best teachers because "as researchers, teachers are often engaged in the same activity as their students, namely learning" (Brew and Boud, 1995b: 270). Moreover, as research involves a deep approach to learning, researchers model, in their own work, learning approaches that it is desirable for their students to follow.

The problem, however, with much of the debate is that it has tended to polarise the issue into a 'teaching versus research' rivalry. There is evidence that students may gain many potential benefits from fostering a link between teaching and research. A recent study found that students at one institution perceived clear benefits from staff research, including staff enthusiasm and the credibility of staff and their institution (Jenkins, et al, 1998). However, they also perceived disadvantages from staff involvement in research, particularly staff availability to students. Moreover, students did not perceive themselves as 'stakeholders' in staff research, in the sense that "they had little appreciation of why it was taking place, which members of staff were doing what, what the expected/required benefits were that students should experience and, often, no sense that they had any ownership/involvement in these activities" (p. 135). Interestingly they also found that the higher the RAE rating of the department the greater the number of positive statements about staff research were made, but also the higher the number of negative statements.

Hence if the complementarities between teaching and research are to be maximised and the adverse impacts resolved, they need to be planned for and not left to happen by accident. As Jenkins (2000a) argues, "for that 'coupling' to occur requires careful action by individuals, departments, the disciplinary communities and national funding and review bodies". For example, in New Zealand the Academic Audit Unit specifically investigates whether universities have policies to encourage a research/teaching link (Woodhouse, 1998). Jenkins (1998) also provides a discussion and illustration of some of the ways for linking research and teaching through the design and delivery of the geography curriculum. He suggests developing students' awareness of and ability to do geographic research, protecting staff time to do research, and limiting the disadvantages of staff involvement in research.

Elton (in press) takes the argument a stage further by arguing that a positive nexus between teaching and research is best achieved through focusing on learning as a process. In particular he argues that "student-centred teaching and learning processes are intrinsically favourable towards a positive nexus, while more traditional teaching methods may at best lead to a positive nexus for the most able students, who in the perception of traditional academics are of course the future university teachers". The challenge then is, according to Elton (2000), to devise student-centred learning activities in which the we devise appropriate problems for our students to tackle. The argument for a student-centred approach to teaching is not new. Interestingly the geographer, Kropotkin, over 100 years ago called for radical changes in how geography is taught. He advocated replacing the rote learning method of teaching with independent enquiry and discovery based problem solving. He noted from his own experience "the rapidity of teaching on the 'problems' method is something really astonishing" (Kropotkin, 1885: 944). It is a salutary thought that the introduction of such a student-centred geography curriculum would still be a radical change in most departments and countries, although there are many examples where these principles are enacted in particular exercises and courses.

Enhancing the quality of teaching and learning geography brings us to the central issue of this paper that embedding the scholarship of teaching and learning in departments depends on the existence of an appropriate range of high quality courses, activities and resources for the professional development of geography teachers in higher education.

SOME RECENT INITIATIVES IN THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF UNIVERSITY GEOGRAPHY TEACHERS

A discipline-based approach to educational development

Developing our expertise as geographical educators and transmitting what we discover about how our students learn in the classroom are fundamental aspects of a scholarship of teaching and learning. However, what little educational development is currently provided for university teachers is largely generic.6 There is a need for a disciplinary specific component in educational development, both for initial training and CPD (Jenkins, 1996). This argument is based on the assertion that for most academic staff their primary allegiance is to their discipline or 'academic tribe' as Becher (1994) refers to it, rather than their institution. It follows, first, that staff are more likely to accept, say, a method of teaching or learning which is new to them, if it can be shown to work for a colleague in the same subject; and, second, it is important not to separate pedagogic developments from the disciplinary contexts in which they are to be implemented (Healey, 1998b).7

These arguments seem to have been accepted in a few national educational development initiatives. For example, in the US the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) worked with disciplinary organisations to give a subject perspective on their Faculty Roles and Rewards programme (Diamond and Adams 1995; 2000); while, as part of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) Higher Education programme, the Pew National Fellowship Program for Carnegie Scholars is based on bringing together scholars in particular disciplines. In Australia the Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching (CAUT) operated five discipline-based clearinghouses in the mid-90s.8 Disciplines have also formed the basis of several educational initiatives in the UK, including the Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) centres; the Department for Education and Employment's (DfEE) Discipline Networks; the Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE) Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL) projects; and the Learning Teaching Support Network's (LTSN) National Subject Centres. The importance of the discipline is also emphasised in the core knowledge and values for membership of the ILT. Geographers have been involved in some, but not all of these national initiatives. There have also been some interesting initial training courses and CPD activities and resources developed in recent years specifically for geography teaching assistants and lecturers.

Initial teacher development courses

The pioneering work on developing initial training courses for geographers was undertaken in the mid- 1970s by the AAG under the direction of William Pattison (Fink 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988; Monk, 1978). They developed a course for geography graduate teaching assistants in the States. Eventually 16 departments participated in the project. However, when funding ceased the course did not continue, mainly because of a decline in the number of academic geography jobs available in the late 1970s and also because key personnel in participating institutions moved on and their work was not continued by colleagues (Monk, 2000a). Today many universities in the States run generic training courses for graduate teaching assistants, while a few universities with large geography graduate schools (e.g. Pennsylvania State) run their own geography specific training courses.9 There are also a number of multi/inter-disciplinary courses concerned with teaching about diversity (e.g. race, gender), area studies and international studies, that "fall between the dichotomy of institutional generic based programs and disciplinary endeavours" (Monk, 2000a).

In the UK a pilot residential workshop was held in May 2000 for 30 recently appointed lecturers in geography, earth and environmental sciences (Table 2). The aim was to supplement, rather than replace, the generic institutional teaching courses in which many of the delegates were also participating. The workshop was run by a team of discipline specialists all of whom had previously worked together with at least some other members of the team developing pedagogic guides and running workshops. Just as important as the 'formal' sessions was the opportunity for the participants, almost all of whom were the only new members of staff in their departments, to share their teaching experiences with other colleagues who were also starting their teaching careers. Such a discipline-specific course would not be feasible for individual institutions to mount. The positive evaluations of the pilot by the participants, the facilitators and an independent evaluator, has led the newly established National Subject Centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, based at the University of Plymouth, to adopt the workshop as an annual feature in its programme of events (Clark et al., in preparation). Other Subject Centres are considering developing their own workshops for new staff in their disciplines.

The success of the pilot may encourage geographers in other countries to explore whether this kind of workshop would work in their context. Interestingly the idea of national workshops for graduate teaching assistants and new faculty in geography in the US has been resurrected by Ken Foote (Colorado), who has put in a consortium bid for five years funding to the National Science Foundation. The next stage is to develop a discipline-based CPD course. The Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Subject Centre in the UK is already exploring the possibility of developing a pilot with the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).

Table 2: National workshop programme for recently appointed higher education teachers in geography, earth and environmental sciences in the UK


Day 1 23 May 2000
Session 1 Introduction. Defining the key issues for the group and for you
Session 2 Learning outcomes and assessment in our subjects
Session 3

Parallel sessions in:

  • Communication and information technology in our subjects
  • Resource-based learning in our subjects
  • Integrating skills development with academic content: a problem-based learning exercise
  • Lecturing in our subjects
Day 2 24 May 2000
Session 5

Parallel sessions in:

  • Communication and information technology in our subjects
  • Laboratory classes in our subjects
  • Resource-based learning in our subjects
  • Small-group teaching in our subjects
Session 6

Parallel sessions in:

  • Integrating skills development with academic content: a problem-based learning exercise
  • Supervising our research students
  • Laboratory classes in our subjects
  • Work experience, employer links and employability for our students
Session 7 Preparing a new module or block of teaching
Session 8 Producing an event profile and personal action plan for continuing professional development
Issues concerning safety, equal opportunities, part-time students, special-needs students and distance learners will be dealt with by embedding them in each of the programme's sessions as appropriate. Throughout the workshop participants will have access to a 'resource library' and a 'swap-shop', where requests for assistance can be made.

Continuing professional development

Although accredited CPD courses for geography teachers in higher education do not yet exist, geographers have been more active in the CPD area than they have been in developing initial training courses. In the US the Human Dimensions of Global Change project bought together geographers in a series of summer workshops to develop 10 active-learning modules for use in teaching introductory higher education courses in geography (Hands On!, 1998). Another collaborative project is the Virtual Geography Department (VGD), which was funded from 1996-9 by the National Science Foundation. The goals of the VGD are "to develop ways for geographers to share materials and use the World Wide Web" and "to offer high quality curriculum materials and classroom and laboratory modules that can be used across the Internet by geography students and faculty at any university in the world, and to promote collaborative research" (Virtual Geography Department, 2000) (Foote, 1999). The VGD has recently moved to the University of Colorado and its aims will continue to be developed through the activities of a new Worldwide Web Specialty Group within the AAG.

Table 3: Geography Discipline Network Guides


Dissemination of Good Teaching, Learning and Assessment Practices in Geography
Teaching and learning issues and managing educational change in geography
Lecturing in geography
Small-group teaching in geography
Practicals and laboratory work in geography
Fieldwork and dissertations in geography
Resource-based learning in geography
Teaching and learning geography with information and communication technologies
Transferable skills and work-based learning in geography
Assessment in geography
Curriculum design in geography

Key Skills in Geography in Higher Education
Key skills: teaching and learning for transfer
Assessing and recording a skills-based curriculum
Improving students' communication skills
Improving students' numeracy skills
Improving students' team and personal skills
Improving students' problem-solving and thinking skills
Improving students' skills through work-based learning
Geography@university: making the most of your geography degree and courses (for students)

Learning Support for Disabled Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities (forthcoming)
Issues in providing learning support for disabled students undertaking fieldwork
Providing learning support for students with mobility problems undertaking fieldwork
Providing learning support for blind or visually impaired students undertaking fieldwork
Providing learning support for deaf or hard of hearing students undertaking fieldwork
Providing learning support for students with mental health difficulties undertaking fieldwork
Providing learning support for students with hidden disabilities and dyslexia undertaking fieldwork


Source: URL: http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/publ.htm

Geographers in the UK have also been active in developing educational materials and resources. These include computer assisted learning modules for introductory geography courses (GeographyCal) (Healey, et al., 1996; 1998; Robinson, et al., 1998); teaching and resource materials which support developing key skills in a geographical context (Geography for the New Undergraduate - GNU); and information technology resources for the support of fieldwork teaching (Virtual Field Course - VFC).

Whereas all the projects mentioned so far, both in the US and the UK, primarily provide materials and resources that geography teachers may use to encourage active learning, one group, the Geography Discipline Network (GDN), addresses the CPD issue directly. Its aim is to develop and disseminate good teaching, learning and assessment practices. The GDN has so far produced 17 teaching and learning guides for staff and one for students preparing to start a geography degree course (Gravestock and Healey, 1998; 2000); a further six guides about providing learning support for disabled students undertaking fieldwork are in preparation (Table 3). It has also organised five national conferences, seminars and workshops and held over 60 department-based workshops. The GDN Web pages include over 35 full-text papers and publications, abstracts from three geographical education journals and about 200 summaries of interesting teaching, learning and assessment practices from around the world (http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/). The GDN Web pages have become a major resource for the geography higher education community and are regularly receiving over 8,000 hits a week. The pages are currently being expanded to provide the home for the pedagogic resources for the National Subject Centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Clearly over the last few years there have been several initiatives providing support for geography teachers in higher education, at least in the US and the UK. However, despite their individual excellence, the impact of many of the initiatives has been restricted because, first, most have been limited-life projects, and, second, it has been mainly those who are already interested in teaching and learning who have tended to become involved with the projects. Impacting on the wider faculty may, in the long run, come about through educating new staff, while in the short to medium term, may be achieved by facilitating the involvement of a larger proportion of faculty by, for example, running departmental workshops. Longer-term continuity for the initiatives involves significant long-term investment, such as the British government provided for the CTI Centres for 20 years and will hopefully now provide for the National Subject Centres. National geography organisations and international networks also have a key role to play in promoting lifelong learning of geography educators in higher education.

THE ROLE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHY ORGANISATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL NETWORKS

National geography organisations

National geography organisations are involved in a variety of ways in supporting the professional development of teachers in higher education. We have already commented on the role of the AAG, for example, in initiating training courses for graduate teaching assistants and promoting the faculty roles and rewards initiative within geography. In the survey, several respondents, such as those from the Institute of Australian Geographers and the Slovak Geographical Society said that their national organisation ran ad hoc sessions on geography in higher education in their main conferences. Some have educational groups within their organisation, including the Higher Education Study Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) and the Education and Worldwide Web Specialty Groups of the AAG. Some professional associations have also instituted awards for contributions to teaching in higher education, such as the Canadian Association of Geographers, the Institute of Australian Geographers, the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE), and the RGS-IBG. Occasional articles on teaching and learning geography in higher education are published in society journals, such as Area, Jornalus de Didictica de Geografia, and The Professional Geographer. More frequent articles appear in the NCGE's Journal of Geography.

Such scholarly associations also have a vital part to play in raising the status of teaching in higher education, through the support they give to educational initiatives and the priority they give to teaching and learning matters. The role of the RGS-IBG in co-ordinating the responses of the discipline in the UK to the proposal of the Higher Education Funding Councils to establish national subject centres and to the initiative of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to develop benchmarking standards in geography, are good examples (Gardner, 2000; QAA, 2000). Various AAG Commissions provide another illustration of the positive support an Association can give to promoting good teaching. The Commission on College Geography in the late 1960s and early 1970s had a strong focus on bringing new content to undergraduate education, while the Commission on Geography and Education focused on pedagogy (Monk, 1986). Later the Commission of College Geography II was responsible for the development of the modules on The Human Dimensions of Global Change.

National geography education networks, whether run by professional associations or by other groups, such as government funded projects or private foundations, are a powerful way of bringing geographers together to exchange and develop practices for the teaching and learning of the subject in higher education. Colleagues thinking of establishing and or developing an existing national higher education network in geography may find the checklist of points to consider in Table 4 useful.

International geography networks

National discipline-based educational organisations can play a key role in sharing and developing good practice. However, they need to be complemented by international networks and projects (Jenkins and Healey, 2000). Academic research networks are international, discipline-based educational development also needs to be international. One way to raise the status of teaching, as argued above, is for teaching improvement practices to mimic the way that research operates, including its international perspective. Moreover, the increased power and effectiveness of information technology makes such international networking both more feasible and effective. Also curriculum materials and projects, while respecting local and national contexts, benefit from the economies of scale, and the academic specialisation and co-operation that can be achieved internationally.

In 1977 a group of British geographers founded the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (Healey, 1998a). While recognising that immediately, for organisational reasons, it had to be British-based, they determined to develop it as an international journal (Jenkins, 1997). Now it is effectively that, or more realistically, it carries articles from Australasia, North America, the UK, and, to a lesser extent, 'elsewhere'. This 'international' perspective is now confirmed and shaped by the editorial organisation. Scholars from Australasia and North America now submit their articles to local editors, who also arrange refereeing, decide acceptance or rejection of articles, and shape overall editorial policy. The first JGHE lecture was held at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2000 (Monk, 2000b); in 2001 there will be a JGHE lecture at the joint New Zealand Geographical Society and Institute of Australian Geographers' Conference.

A good example of the benefits of international co-operation comes from the National Centre for Geographic Information and Analysis Core Curriculum project in which 35 GIS educators in the US, Canada and the UK developed a comprehensive set of lecture notes for teaching beginning GIS professionals. An updated web-based version of this course is in preparation, which includes 76 lecture topics and 19 section editors from five different countries.

The principle of international co-operation and sharing good practice to avoid recreating wheels also lies behind the initiative to establish the International Network for Learning and Teaching (INLT) Geography in Higher Education. The idea for this grew out of the personal experience of the benefits the three convenors (from Australia, US and UK) that believed they had gained from networking nationally and internationally about learning and teaching issues in geography. The INLT was established in 1999. It now has its own listserve, Web pages (http://www.inlt.org/) and Newsletter. Its goal is "to improve the quality of learning and teaching of geography in higher education internationally" (Hay et al., 2000: 224). It is in the process of establishing a database and clearinghouse for educational materials and a number of international projects are planned. Nine papers from the first international symposium have been published (Healey et al., 2000a) and the programme for the second symposium in Plymouth at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2001 has been arranged (Table 5) (Healey, 200b). Geographers from six different countries contributed to the first symposium. On 1 August 2000 there were 188 members of the listserve from 16 different countries. We wish to extend the number and international coverage of participants in the network and invite colleagues who share our goal to join the network.10

Table 4: Checklist of points to consider in establishing and developing a national higher education network in geography


1. Make as many contacts as possible with like-minded enthusiasts in the discipline in your state/province/nation; build a core group as soon as possible and involve them in the establishment and organisation of the network's activities
2. Agree the main objectives for your network, develop an action plan with timescales and a clear division of responsibilities for their achievement; review and, where appropriate, revise your objectives and plans regularly
3. Start small, but think big; organising workshops and small conferences need not involve many resources
4. Seek wide support for your network by 'networking the networks'; obtain legitimacy and status by working with your subject's learned society or professional association and other key groups; make your network invaluable by, for example, organising workshops and conferences to discuss the subjects' response to government higher education initiatives
5. Integrate in the programmes of activities curriculum and pedagogic issues with topical issues of concern to the future of the subject
6. Take every opportunity to involve academics in the discipline in the network; identify and work through key individuals in university and college departments
7. Ensure that events and activities receive wide publicity and reports are written up and distributed widely; produce a newsletter; establish a subject network WWW site; and consider establishing a listserve discussion list
8. Prepare guides to good practices in learning, teaching and assessment, written in an accessible and practical style, and containing plenty of case studies illustrating their implementation
9. Produce learning and teaching materials which can be adapted and used flexibly by lecturers and faculty
10. Publish subject based pedagogic research, conference proceedings, and bibliographies of discipline-specific educational literature; send articles to JGHE for consideration for publication
11. Ensure a high standard of scholarship in the way you write about and discuss your teaching; strive to raise the standard of other contributions
12. Seek funding to develop, identify and disseminate good practice in learning and teaching
13. Establish links with other educational networks in closely related subjects and with geography networks in other countries; involve key people from related subjects and other countries in your activities
14. Contribute to generic educational conferences and workshops
15. Involve educational developers, particularly those with a background in your discipline, in the planning and implementation of your activities, including bringing them in to participate in events, work on projects, facilitate workshops, and to advise on and evaluate the development of the network
16. Encourage and prepare new members to take over the running of the network

Source: Healey (1998b, 280)

Table 5: International Network for the Learning and Teaching of Geography in Higher Education (INLT) Projects


Project Chair/Organiser Details and progress
Publication of Symposium papers Mick Healey Nine papers published in 2000 in JGHE 24 (2).
Establish a communication network Brian Chalkley and Iain Hay with Phil Gravestock and Mick Healey

INLT listserve established at Flinders University.

Six-monthly INLT Newsletter established.

Developed INLT section on the GDN Web pages (http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/inlt/) and established INLT Web site (http://www.inlt.org/).

Threaded discussion list established at INLT Web site.

Planned next INLT Conference at University of Plymouth 2-5 Jan 2001 with RGS-IBG.

Develop a database and clearinghouse Sarah Bednarz and Geoff Robinson with Ken Foote

Developing an easily accessible database containing basic information about geography in higher education around the world; preparing country profiles.

Developing a clearinghouse for educational materials in the WWW.

Establish links with other organisations and projects Steve Williams with Mick Healey Identifying organisations working on related projects and exploring establishing alliances or collaborations with them - survey of national organisations supporting the professional development of teachers in HE undertaken (http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/inlt/internat.htm).
Link student projects internationally Teresa Ploszajska Plan is for students from a number of institutions in different nations to collaborate in the creation of 'virtual' fieldtrips or guides of their local area.
Establish a pilot project to explore learning-and-teaching strategies Ken Foote Formulating a small-scale pilot study to explore collaboration in teaching-and-learning strategies; funding sources being explored.

Source: Updated from Healey et al. (2000b)

Two other examples of international educational co-operation in geography are: the Erasmus Intensive Course, which provides courses in gender and geography for advanced and graduate students working in a number of European institutions (Garcia Ramon and Monk, 1997; Fortuijn, 2000); and the UNIGIS GIS distance learning programme, which was established by the Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester Metropolitan, and Salford, and has education partners in 14 countries (Reeve et al., 2000).

Lastly, but not least, there is the work of the of the IGU, principally through its Commission on Geographical Education (CGE), which has done much over many years to promote a scholarly approach to geographic education, through its meetings, publications and its journal, International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. To date the main focus of the work of the CGE has been on the teaching and learning of geography in schools. With the founding of the INLT, with its focus on geography in higher education, there is a need to explore the opportunities for working together to exchange ideas and approaches, and to hold joint meetings (Bednarz et al., 2000; Healey et al., 2000b).

CONCLUSION

In this paper I have attempted to sketch out a vision for the development of lifelong learning for geography educators in higher education through developing the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Among the points I have suggested are that, if university teaching is to be seen on a par with research we need to use the same kind of thought processes in our teaching that we apply to our research; and to embed the scholarship of teaching and learning in departments there needs to be an appropriate range of high quality initial training courses and CPD activities and resources.

I have outlined some examples of practices that have evolved, particularly in the US and the UK, to develop a disciplinary approach to providing initial training courses and CPD activities and resources for geography teachers in higher education. These examples are intended to stimulate discussion of what kind of practices it may be feasible to develop in other countries. In that context I have outlined in Table 6 a framework for the professional development of geographical educators in higher education in the 21st Century.11 In reality the categories used are more fluid than is implied in the table. Hence new lecturers may be involved in the same activities and events as the graduate teaching assistants and the experienced faculty; while generic courses may contain discipline-based modules. National geography organisations and international networks have a key role to play in developing this framework.

Table 6: A framework for the professional development of geographical educators in higher education in the 21st Century


Level Nature Examples
Graduate teaching assistants

Generic:

Institutionally-based course, possibly linked to research training

  Disciplinary: Seminar run by a national geography organisation
  Inter/multi-disciplinary: Workshop materials for science-based graduate students (Goodall and Elvidge, 1999)
New teaching staff/faculty

Generic:

Institutionally-based accredited course (Baume and Baume, 1996; ILT, 2000)

  Disciplinary: Workshop for new geography teachers (Clark et al., in preparation)
  Inter/multi-disciplinary: Teaching about diversity and teaching to diverse student bodies (AACU, 2000)
Experienced teaching staff/facultyCPD

Generic:

Diploma/Masters course in Educational Development/Technology

  Disciplinary: Sessions run at national and international geography conferences (Healey, et al., 1998; 2000a)
  Inter/multi-disciplinary: Ford Foundation project to bring women's studies, area studies, and international studies together (Monk, 2000)

In conclusion, this plenary session is about developing geographical educators for the 21st Century. For me, the key to developing geographical educators in higher education is to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning.12 If attention is paid to developing the scholarship of teaching and learning, I believe that before too long the status of teaching should rise, the quality of the initial training courses and CPD activities and resources for geography teachers in higher education should increase, and, perhaps, most importantly of all, the quality of the learning our students achieve should improve.

Acknowledgements

I am very grateful to the Organizing Committee of the 29th International Geographical Congress for inviting me to present this paper to the plenary session on "Developing Geographical Educators for the 21st Century". Brian Chalkley, Gordon Clark, Iain Hay, Alan Jenkins, Jan Monk and Ifan Shepherd provided some very helpful comments on a draft version of the paper.

Notes

1 Links to the Web sites of the organisations and projects mentioned in this paper are available in the on-line version of this paper at: http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/confpubl/seoul.htm
2 Details of the ways in which the national organisations who have so far responded to the survey support the professional development of teaching of geography in higher education are available at: http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/inlt/internat.htm. Other national organisations are invited to complete the on-line questionnaire or to contact the author directly.
3 The ideas in this section are developed in greater depth in Healey (1999, 2000).
4 Some of the ways of enhancing the relationship between the scholarship of teaching and the scholarships of integration and application are discussed by Haigh (2000).
5 For the purposes of this discussion subject-based pedagogic research is excluded from the discussion, as it is seen as part of the scholarship of teaching. There are clear benefits for teaching from involvement in this kind of research (e.g. Healey and Jenkins, in press). There are also benefits for staff members' subject research from their being engaged in teaching. In particular the emphasis in teaching on effective communication can help researchers clarify their arguments, place them in a wider context and disseminate their ideas effectively.
6 Some of the assessment may nevertheless include disciplinary elements. Although Bullard and McLean (2000) found from an analysis of the portfolios produced by eight new university teachers of geography that only three of them were very discipline-specific. They nevertheless concluded that "attending a programme of training which emphasises reflection and a focus on student learning accelerates the process of becoming a student-centred teacher" (p. 50).
7 A counter argument is that there is much to be learned from other disciplines. A way to overcome the reluctance of subject specialists to look beyond their discipline boundaries may be to create 'interpreters' or 'translators' who are people with an explicit role to encourage and facilitate the exchanges of ideas between disciplines issues of scholarship (Shepherd, 2000). This is a role for example, which the Generic Learning and Teaching Council is meant to play within the UK Learning and Teaching Support Network.
8 CAUT was replaced in 1997 by the Committee of University Teaching and Staff Development (CUTSD), which in turn was replaced in 2000 by The Australian Universities Teaching Committee (AUTC). At the time of writing it is not clear what teaching grant programmes will be developed by the new body.
9 Several universities in the States also operate Geography Education speciality Masters and PhD programmes, but these are concerned with pre-university teaching (K-12) (Brown, 1999).
10 Further information on the INLT, how to join the listserve, and how to participate in particular projects are available at: http://www.inlt.org/ and http://www.chelt.ac.uk/gdn/inlt/
11 I am grateful to Brian Chalkley (2000) for the idea that led to the construction of this table.
12 Over the next two years I shall be exploring ways in which particular higher education institutions and disciplines are developing the scholarship of teaching and learning in a project linked to a National Teaching Fellowship. I would welcome hearing from colleagues with knowledge of interesting practices in their countries.

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