Changing Voices and Identities in Educational Development

By Joy Mighty

In 2017, the opening plenary at the annual conference of Canada’s Educational Developers Caucus explored a similar theme as we retraced our 13-year history. Inspired in part by the 2017 IJAD article by Roxå and Mårtensson on “Agency and structure in academic development practices”,
we reflected on whether we had made a significant difference and if so, for whom. As an international organization, ICED might well ask similar questions about its goals and accomplishments.

In discussing the theme of “Institutional Change”, it might be useful to look inward and ask ourselves whose agenda we have followed, and whose goals and needs we have met. What relationships have we developed with our respective faculty, administrators, governments, students and with each other? What broader sociological and philosophical questions relating to the purpose of post-secondary education underpin these relationships and the practices we have followed as educational developers?

I am particularly interested in exploring how inclusive our profession has been. Do we represent one voice? If so, whose? Does our collective identity as a profession hide fractures, disjunctions, differences? If so, which ones? Are there unheard voices missing from our discourse? If so, how do we initiate change so that there is increased diversity of voices and identities in our field? Many of our institutions’ vision statements articulate values and goals about global citizenship and diversity. In our educational development practices, are we being true to these statements or do we shirk our professional responsibilities by remaining silent on such issues? How does (not) speaking up/out affect our legitimacy, our ability to influence and ultimately our profession?