In November 2019, I began a 3-year post as Strategic Education Developer at the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. My role has been to work as National Forum lead in the area of digital and open education, spanning policy and practice, working in collaboration with students and staff across the Irish higher education sector. Today marks my last day at the National Forum, after three unforgettable years.
Most of the collaborative work I have been fortunate to have been a part of can be found on the Digital Teaching & Learning page of the National Forum website: supporting open education and developing open capabilities, coordinating the INDEx Survey, supporting the development of enabling policies for digital/open T&L, and contributing to the Next Steps for Teaching and Learning project. But those collections of resources and publications don’t quite capture the heartbeat of the work.
These past two years of isolation, pain and worry have been marked also by remarkable care, kindness and generosity. I have seen this in abundance across all education sectors here in Ireland, with international colleagues, and up close with the National Forum team. I express my heartfelt thanks and deep respect to all with whom I’ve worked during my time at the National Forum – with special thanks to my amazing NF colleagues, many of whom are also moving on to new posts, and our director, Terry Maguire, who deserved all of the warm celebrations she received on her retirement this week.
Like so many of us, I have put a lot of thought into how to stitch together a healthy and meaningful way of working in our changing world. From January 2022, I’ll be working independently – planning to work both in higher education and the community sector, and to engage in research.
Some of these plans are already in progress. Last week, Laura Czerniewicz and I announced a Call for Chapters for Higher Education for Good: Teaching and Learning Futures, a book we will co-edit in 2022-23 (see http://bit.ly/HE4Good). All else will emerge.
My new contact details can be found at the Contact link above. More blogging lies ahead, but this short post will serve at least as a marker, of thanks above all.
As we grieve the loss of the mighty bell hooks this week, I will end with her words, which have been an inspiration throughout all my years as a teacher and scholar:
I add my voice to the collective call for renewal and rejuvenation in our teaching practices. Urging all of us to open our minds and hearts so that we can know beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable, so that we can think and rethink, so that we can create new visions, I celebrate teaching that enables transgressions – a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom.
Image source: Catherine Cronin (Flickr)