Reading List and Resources

Reading List

  • Barnett, R. (2001). Managing universities in a supercomplex age. In M. Cutright (Ed.), Chaos theory and higher education: Leadership, planning and policy (13-32). New York: Peter Lang.
    • Barnett argues that Universities are “supercomplex”—not just composed of many competing systems interacting in chaotic fashion, but also of competing principles that are fundamentally incompatible with each other. Universities should not try to resolve these tensions, but negotiate between them, and flexibly adapt to them in a rapidly changing world. Barrett does not refer to EDs directly, but to “managers” whose task is “to encourage staff to embrace new frameworks of academic identity.” By allowing networks to proliferate and interact, the university encourages a creative chaos, where new knowledge and frameworks are continually emerging and subject to critical reflection. Embrace change; see what develops; make choices.
  • Barr, R. B. & Tagg, J. (1995, November-December). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate students. Change, 26(6), 12-25.
    • This oft-cited article argues that University pedagogy must shift its focus from an Instruction paradigm to a Learning paradigm. The former model privileges lecturing and passive learning, the new experiential education and student practice. Barr and Tagg argue that the “sage on the stage” model must change; it does not encourage student learning, but the awarding of degrees once a certain amount of class time has been completed. Rather, teachers should create “environments and experiences” that allow students to “discover and construct knowledge for themselves.” (15)
  • Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, N.J.: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
    • Boyer’s text was an important early text advocating for a broader conception of scholarship, one including not only pure research, but interdisciplinary links, application of knowledge, and teaching. Argues Boyer, “we need scholars who not only skillfully expliore the frontiers of knowledge, but also integrate ideas, connect thought to action, and inspire students” (77). Scholarship Reconsidered was one of the first texts to argue that undergraduates were being ill-served by the present paradigm of research/publishing and that the modern university should have space for specialists of all sorts, teachers among them. An easy-to-read, easy-to-understand text that forms the basis of much of todays SoTL.
  • Dawson, D., Borin, P., Meadows, K., Britnell, J., Olsen, K., & McIntyre, G. (2014). The
    Impact of the Instructional Skill Workshop on Faculty Approaches to Teaching.
    Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Retrieved from

    • This study underlines the importance of reflective practice and notes the utility of the Instructional Skills Workshop as an agent of change. The study authors used both a control group and a group of ISW veterans, interviewing the latter pre- and post- the ISW. Not surprisingly, they found that the ISW opened instructor’s eyes to the importance of SoTL and of student-centred practice, and post-ISW, reported a significant shift in their teaching from teacher-focused to student-centred, two-way learning.
  • Dawson, D., Britnell J. & Hitchcock A. (2010). Developing competence models of faculty developers. In L. Nilson & J. Miller’s (Eds.), To improve the academy: Resources for faculty, instructional and organizational development 28, (3-24). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • An important article that contains both a broad overview recent literature on the institutional role of EDs, it also explains in more detail the traits/skills/knowledge/competency divisions on the “Faculty Developer Competencies Matrix: Entry Level” noted chart directly below. The major strength of this resource is that it codifies a broad range of useful abilities for new Educational Developers. A copy of the study can be accessed at
  • Elton, L. (2009). Continuing professional development in higher education: The role of scholarship of teaching and learning. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 8 (3), 247-258.
    • This reference argues that teaching should be subject to scholarship the same as any other discipline. Elton’s suggestion is twofold—first, CPD (continuing professional development) has to be an ongoing process required of all, and second, there should be some post-graduate degree work on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) both in itself as a discipline and re: a set of best practices.
  • Felten, P. (2013). Principles of Good Practice in SoTL. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 1(1), 121-125.
    • Felten notes that since EDs rarely come from a background in Education, their learning is based around “problem-solving” and ad hoc professional development. As a result, peer-review is difficult, because “shared definitions are elusive” (122). Hoping for consensus, Felten submits a list of five good practices that can be used to evaluate scholarly work in Educational Development: Inquiry focused on student learning, grounded in context, methodologically sound, conducted in partnership with students, and appropriately public. Felten reflects on how SoTL is often “problem-based” and highly varied between disciplines, but argues that common standards can still be reached. A useful bibliography follows.
  • Fraser, K., Gosling, D., & Sorcinelli, M. D. (2010). Conceptualizing evolving models of educational development. In J. McDonald & D. Stockley (Eds), Pathways to the professional of educational development (49-58). San Francisco : Jossey-Bass.
    • Drawing on Land (2001, 2004) and Sorcinelli (2006), the authors identify three main aspects of educational development: counselling focused on the individual staff member, a strategy for institutional change and growth (in teaching/earning) university wide, and national strategies to encourage “systemic improvement” in university teaching (54). The ideas of other authors in the field are reviewed and organized into the above categories.
  • Handal, G. (2008). Identities of academic developers: Critical friends of the academy? In R. Barnett & R. Di Napoli (Eds.), Changing identities in higher education: Voicing perspectives (55-68). London: Routledge.
    • Handal’s article traces a broad outline of different sorts of Educational Developers and their roles. Like Land, Barnett and others, Handal argues that EDs facilitate change—either actively, as change agents, or passively, as facilitators and guides when approached by faculty. EDs form communities of practice, sometimes within their own small unit (i.e. Like York’s Teaching Commons), partly with others in their specific discipline. A key point is that EDs must become expert in giving criticism (often on sensitive subjects), not to attack, but to find opportunities for improved practice across their university. Few EDs have degrees in education, but come to the practice through their own disciplinary roots and a love of good pedagogy. Available at
  • Hutchings, P. (2000). Introduction to opening lines. Opening lines: Approaches to the scholarship of teaching and learning. NP: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning.
    • This article had an early influence on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and remains a useful read. Hutchings outlines the broad patterns of SoTL in his introduction to the case studies that make up the bulk of the text. He outlines the evolving nature of the field, the kinds of questions researchers of T&L ask, the evolving methodology of the field. Hutchings concludes that the SoTL begins from a disciplinary base (i.e. History, Math, Dance), includes an “aspect of practice” (8), and is oriented towards transformational, institutional change.
  • Gibbs,  G. (2013). Commentary: Reflections on the changing nature of educational development. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(1),   4 – 14.
    • Gibbs presents an overview of how educational development has changed over the last 40 years in the hopes that educational developers will reflect on what they do and how their role has changed to inspire them to determine the new direction their role will take.  Table 1 in this article provides a comprehensive overview of the role of an educational developer in developing a university’s teaching and learning.
  • Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York: Back Bay.
    • Gladwell’s text is more of a summer read than a contribution to SoTL. But the book is interesting, and may provide an useful metaphor when considering how to facilitate institutional change. Gladwell argues that ideas are like epidemics—a variety of factors need to occurs for an “idea” to spread from the local to the universal. Land and others note the importance of convincing others to accept change—that is, to some extent it is an exercise in marketing. Gladwell comes at the problem in a more abstract way, essentially arguing that you need passionate people (the law of the few), the right words/concepts to stay in people’s minds (stickiness), and those words/concepts used in the right place at the right time (the power of Context).
  • Guskey, T. R. (2002, March). Does it make a difference? Evaluating professional development. Redesigning Professional Development, 56(1), 25-31.
    • Guskey, long involved in creating rubrics for evaluating Educational Developers, outlines his own system of evaluation. There are many similarities to Kirkpatrick et. al. (see above), but Guskey’s work is specifically tailored for Educational Developers. His method of evaluation contains five steps, rather than four. The levels are: 1. Participant’s Reactions, 2. Participants’’ Learning. 3. Organizational Support and Change 4. Participants’ Use of New Knowledge and Skills, and 5. Student Learning Objectives. Additional sublevels and sample questions for evaluating the effectiveness of workshops and gathering evidence for institutional change are included. The article is available online here.
  • Kahn, P. & Baume, D. (Eds.). (2003). A guide to staff and educational development. London: SEDA and Kogan Page.
    • Kahn and Baume’s SEDA approved text compiles the insight of many experienced EDs in the United Kingdom. Focused on new Educational Developers, the text provides specific advice for identifying [client] needs, event-centred development, the use of technology, the role of institutional culture and integrating with national priorities in education, such as e-learning, and experiential education.
  • Kirkpatrick, D. & Kirkpatrick, J. (2006). Evaluating training programs: The four levels (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
    • Kirkpatrick has been working in Organizational Management for nearly fifty years, and the book outlines his experience in best practices of learning and of managing change. Since much of ED is concerned with those things, the text has much useful advice. The four steps are: 1. Reaction (“how those who participate in the program react to it”), 2. Learning, (“the extent to which participants change attitudes, improve knowledge, and/or increase skill as a result of attending the program”), 3. Behaviour (“the extent to which change has occurred because the participant attended the training program”) and 4. Results. EDs tasked with organizing new seminars or programs to improve institutional teaching, or facilitating ISWs will find much good advice within for the creation and evaluation of such systems.
  • Land, R. (2004). Educational development: Discourse, identity and practice. Buckingham: The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
    • This full-length text is one of the seminal works in ED literature. In his 200 page text Land uses extensive interviews and second sources to explore the different orientations employed by EDs to succeed in their work (i.e. managerial, strategic, romantic etc.). The text also suggests some broad patterns for EDs to consider when facing resistance to pedagogical change among faculty. The book ends by using the first two parts to provide tactics for EDs in adapting to, and coping with, complex university cultures.
  • Land, R. (2001). Agency, context and change in academic development. The International Journal for Academic Development, 6(1), 4-20.
    • This text is a precursor to Land’s Educational Development, and covers some of the same ground, albeit in a much shorter space. The inclusion of graphics and tables make a complex theory easier to follow than Land’s full-length text. The article’s main focus concerns how EDs can manage change (in teaching practices) and promotes the Japanese concept of Kai Zen (continuous improvement). Land argues that EDs are unlike all other University workers, in that they “have no vested interest in maintaining the status quo” (10).
  • Potter, M. K. & Kustra, E. D. H. (2011). The relationship between scholarly teaching and SoTL: Models, distinctions, and clarifications. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 5(1), Article 23.
    • This is a very helpful article that differentiates between “Scholarly Teaching” and “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” The article provides clear definitions between the two, and notes that the relationship between both and their influence on student learning is neither linear nor even a question of mutual influence; one may be a Scholarly Teacher with little or no recourse to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. The authors argue that the Scholarly Teaching is linked directly to better student outcomes and reflexive, effective classroom practice, while SoTL leads to more awareness and understanding of theories of learning, but may change nothing about the best practices teachers use. But even more simply, SoTL is concerned with theory, and broad consensus; the establishment of a discipline. Scholarly Teaching is concerned.
  • Sorcinelli, M. D., Austin, A. E., Eddy, P. L., & Beach, A. L. (2006). Faculty development in the age of the network. Creating the future of faculty development: Learning from the past, understanding the present (157-176). Boston: Anker Publishing Company Inc.
    • This chapter summarizes Sorcinelli’s influential text by reviewing the evolution of EDs (in a North American Context) from individuals concerned about good teaching to networks of professionals who also focus on institutional change. The focus here is partly for EDs as they negotiate new challenges and institutional barriers, and partly for faculty trying to orient themselves in a changing educational landscape.
  • Stefani, L. (2003). What is staff and educational development? In P. Kahn & D. Baume (Eds.), A guide to staff and educational development (9-23). London: SEDA and Kogan Page.
    • This is a useful article for EDs looking for more precise definitions of what EDs do and who they are. While the [position of Educational Developer resists simple definitions, Stefani unpacks the different aspects of the job, underlining the necessity for flexibility and student-centred classrooms. But she also notes that 21st century EDs must often facilitate change in their institutions, have to be able to network, and must be comfortable with technology.
  • Taylor, K. L. (2010). Understanding the disciplines within the context of educational development. In J. McDonald & D. Stockley (Eds.), Pathways to the professional of educational development (59-67). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • This short article reminds us that each academic discipline has its own culture, methods, modes of communication and pedagogical philosophy, and the wise ED does not make their square peg try to fit a round hole. Taylor’s argument can be summed up with “we need to appreciate the teaching and learning regimes in different disciplines and assess the compatibility of a particular regime with our own process.” The piece underlines something of the challenge facing EDs who come from their own disciplinary backgrounds and have knowledge of Teaching and Learning, but have to face the challenge of translating this for teachers who come from different backgrounds and assumptions.
  • Timmermans, J. (2014). Identifying threshold concepts in the careers of educational development. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(4), 305-317.
    • Timmerman’s interviewed five experienced Canadian Educational developers in order to identify “threshold concepts” for Educational Developers (see Meyer and Land, 2003). The results can be summarized via a common concept between all: “Facilitating the Change Process” (305). Timmerman identifies a number of competencies that help EDs facilitate change in individuals, groups and systems, as well as “core principles of knowing and being” (313). Many of them begin with mindfulness, diplomacy, and awareness of one’s context—both where one is working and who one is asked to help.
  • Wright, W. A., & Miller, J. E. (2000). The educational developer’s portfolio. International Journal for Academic Development, 5(1), 20-29.
    • Miller and Wright survey postings for Educational Developers to get a sense of the qualifications and experienced required for the position (globally). The importance of publications in SoTL is noted. Since a ED portfolio is likely to be at the heart of the hiring process, the two authors provide several models for a good dossier. They borrow liberally from a teaching dossier model, but adapt to highlight the ED’s principal task—“to catalyse change.” Useful as a starting point for new or aspiring EDs to organize their qualifications.


  • Educational Developer’s Caucus Resource: Portfolios.
    • On the website within the Educational Developer’s Caucus is a subsection with specific resources for portfolio philosophy and development. The websites of many of the current Team Members for the Educational Developer’s Caucus are linked on the page, as well as suggestions for further resources and reading. The authors of the site recommend several resources referencing SOAR—a system of long term organizational planning based around Strengths, Organization, Aspirations and Results. Further information re: SOAR can be found at:
      ii. Stavros, Jacqueline M, & Hinrichs, Gina. (2011). The Thin Book Of SOAR: Building Strengths-Based Strategy. Thin Book Publishing.