Academic Development for the Digital University

  • Bill Johnston
  • Sheila MacNeill
  • Keith Smyth
Part of the Digital Education and Learning book series (DEAL)


In this chapter, the role of systematic institutional academic development is related to the task of implementing and embedding effective digital practice at the institutional level of the digital university. The current relatively marginal place for academic development units and staff in relation to organisational change management is critiqued and a more central role proposed. The ideas and values of critical pedagogy, open education, and praxis are positioned as key features of a renovated academic development capability. The account is based on work describing the nature of academic development and developer roles (Land, Educational development: discourse, identity and practice. Society for Research into Higher Education/Open University Press, Maidenhead, 2004; Neame, J Acad Dev 18:331–343, 2013), and a new role of critical, open provocateur is derived and described. This new orientation for academic development is aligned to an agenda of greater openness within and outside universities aimed at reforming higher education as a public good. The practice of academic development is problematised and reappraised using ideas drawn from Roxå and Mårtensoon (Int J Acad Dev 22:95–105, 2017).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Johnston
    • 1
  • Sheila MacNeill
    • 2
  • Keith Smyth
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Psychological Science and HealthUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Academic Quality and DevelopmentGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Learning and Teaching AcademyUniversity of the Highlands and IslandsInvernessUK

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