Propeda project develops Peda-forum network
The Finnish Ministry of Education has granted funding for developing the national cooperation network of expertise in university pedagogy, Peda-forum (the network was established in 1994 and it is coordinated by University of Oulu), for the years 2007-2009. The funding was granted to the Propeda project (coordinated by tht University of Tampere), from which some of it will also be allocated to the Universities of Jyväskylä, Helsinki and Turku.
Academic developers´ work has become acknowledged and their status ever more established at the Finnish universities. The development work requirements and conditions vary between the universities, but the common challenge is that various instances hold increasingly more expectations for the academic development work. Academic development work has taken many forms and, in a short period of time, innovative practices and support services have been created at the Finnish universities even when compared internationally.
In the future, improved understanding and competencies of academic development are required, as well indications of its impacts. It is also necessary to create forums for enhancing the expertise of the academic developers, spreading innovations and deepening our understanding of academic development as a phenomenon.
With the Propeda funding, the Peda-forum network aims to strengthen and develop the already existing structures and practices of academic development, such as the Peda-forum journal, Pedagogical Memory network tool and the study psychologists´ work at the Finnish universities. Another aim is to create new structures and practices to meet the challenges of enhancing the developer´s expertise and the academic development units´ roles, functions and status.
The Propeda subprojects are
Subproject 1: Enhancing the Academic Developer's Competencies
The Propeda project organizes during 2007-2009 two Developing the Academic Developer workshops, both of which last about eight months. The workshops are for the academic developers, i.e. various experts that help university teaching and guidance staff at the Finnish universities to improve the quality of their teaching processes and support the academic staff as well as departments in educational development work.
The workshop was piloted in 2006-2007. Based on the experiences of the participants, the structure and themes were modified into a longer collegial workshop. The first workshop started in October 2007, and it introduced a novel component: the competence-based description which gives the participants a framework to self-assess their prior learning/competences and to set their personal learning goals for the workshop. This framework also builds a shared understanding of the core and basic competences that the academic developers at the Finnish universities require.
Later, the subproject aims to further develop the workshop model towards the new Peda-forum certificate and to increase the opportunities of the academic developers to get both national and international merits. Another objective is to lay foundations for an orientation practice for the newly recruited academic developers.
Contact person (till the end of 2008): Maarit Ansela, maarit.ansela(at)uta.fi, +358 3 3551 8959, University of Tampere, Academic Development Unit.
-> Workshop 2007-2008 description
-> Academic Developer's Competence-based Description 2007
Subproject 2: Enhancing the Status of the Academic Development Units
Benchmarking between the academic development units.
Contact person: Markku Ihonen, markku.ihonen(at)uta.fi, +358 3 3551 6379. University of Tampere, Academic Development Unit.
-> Subproject description 2007-2009
Subproject 3: Developing the Academic Development Support Tools
Peda-forum journal (referee practice)
Pedagogical memory (content and technology)
Contact person: Kaisa Kiuttu, kaisa.kiuttu(at)jyu.fi, +358 40 805 4256, University of Jyväskylä.
Subproject 4: Study Psychology at the Finnish Universities
Enhancing the study psychologists´ work and establishing the role of study psychology in the development of teaching and study counselling practices in the field of Higher Education.
Contact person: Satu Eerola, satu.eerola(at)uta.fi, +358 50 443 7243
University of Tampere, Academic Development Unit.
The Propeda steering group is in charge of the overall planning, implementation and evaluation of the project. The chairperson is Mr Jari Rantamäki (University of Jyväskylä) and the secretary Ms Maarit Ansela (University of Tampere). Other members are Mr Matti Lappalainen (University of Turku), Ms Satu Eerola (University of Tampere), Mr Markku Ihonen (University of Tampere), Ms Mailis Salo (University of Jyväskylä), Mrs Merja Maikkola (University of Oulu, Peda-forum coordinator), Mr Asko Karjalainen (University of Oulu), Mr Jan-Peter Kaiku (Theatre Academy of Finland), Mrs Johanna Naukkarinen (Tampere University of Technology) and Ms Päivi Pakkanen (University of Helsinki).The project is coordinated by the Academic Development Unit of the University of Tampere.