In Our Own Voices: Agency and Identities in an Ideological World

By Chng Huang Hoon

When academic developers discuss their institutional positioning, many seem to feel they suffer from a lack of support from their policymakers. While academic developers have been frequently called upon to do very important work for the institution, not all such effort have been consistently recognized; and worse, sometimes often forgotten; hence the sense of invisibility and a perceived lack of agency. My experience as a former T&L director and a current member of senior management has given me an empathy for the challenges faced by the former and some understanding of what goes on in the latter. I offer myself as a broker between these two levels and make a call for academic developers to develop a strategy to reach up to their policymakers and for those who consider themselves brokers to facilitate this connection between both worlds.

In any space where there are different players, there will always be differing priorities and agendas. It is therefore critical that each of us creates a pathway to assert agency and establish his/her own voice. As academic developers, we should ask – what can we do to provide value for the institution? As policymakers who value education, we could more actively articulate and share the institutional vision, and work together with our T&L centre to improve learning.

I wish to invite a conversation about how academic developers and policymakers can co-create meaning and value for what we do, in support of institution; and how to actively facilitate positive connections as one community.