The growing importance of developing teaching faculty
The journey we have all taken over recent years in the area of learning and teaching, has been extraordinary. None of us could ever have imagined just how much we would all learn and upskill ourselves as educators. The Scholarship of Learning and Teaching and the directive for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) require us to practice what we learn, and this has always been important. However, none of us could have predicted how accelerated this process would become as a result of the Covid-19 period. In the midst of this terrible disease, the HE sector has responded rapidly to ensure that a high quality education continues to be provided (Hewitt, 2020). The context of the last year has provided us with an environment conducive to real world experimentation, allowing us to test new and existing technology, and be inspired by attending training courses and engaging with pedagogy.
Of course, many of us had started this journey long before Covid-19. Aside from our genuine interest to improve the student learning journey, we were also responding to external factors, such as the NSS, TEF and accreditations that have encouraged the sector to reconsider our approach in this area. Business schools are influenced by metrics designed to capture the student experience and the effectiveness of the learning journey. Therefore, educators have always designed, practised and tested new approaches to teaching; none of which would have been possible without the ability to learn from one another in our community of practice.
We have seen more business schools create policies and new structures to support educators to develop their craft; thereby providing a more inclusive approach to developing the faculty. The changes have also provided the necessary evidence to support the numerous accreditations that many business schools choose to apply for; e.g. AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA to name a few.
Over this period, a stronger focus on student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, and value for money has positioned the learning and teaching agenda firmly at the centre of strategy and operations conversations. For many, this came with the realisation that the current ad-hoc CPD and internal training programmes did not provide an adequate framework within which to develop pedagogic practice able to keep pace with the advancement of industry through a fourth industrial revolution (see Schwab, 2016).
CPD has therefore never been required more than now. Thus, it would be disappointing if we did not use the knowledge we have gained over the past few years to enhance our development as a community. We are now well situated to provide a more rigorous student experience, one that is more accessible due to using pedagogy to create a blended approach, and one that is relevant for the generation that we are currently working with.
The Certified Management & Business Educator (CMBE) has been timely. Being a CMBE demonstrates our commitment to maintaining professionalism within the sector by continuously training, learning and sharing our practices with others. There are now CMBEs in 80% of UK Business Schools and in 24 countries worldwide. The majority of other professions can evidence their relevance in their sector, and the CMBE also provides this to our community.
For the business school sector, the CMBE offers a framework for engaging in relevant practice. Professional development is, after all, necessary to adapt to the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment in which we operate (Kok & Van den Heuvel, 2019). For institutions, it offers a structured development conversation, aligning the personal development of academics with the strategic goals of the institution. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the CMBE has provided a community of practice for business and management educators that enables them to work collaboratively and share their experiences to seek solutions to a number of ‘knotty’ problems. It has offered a bastion of salvation, reassuring educators that they are not alone in facing such challenges, and ultimately serves to improve the student experience through advancements in teaching and learning.
As leaders of business schools within the UK, it is feasible to use a framework such as the CMBE to embed the culture of CPD for learning, teaching, and the student experience. Some ideas include: the inclusion of CMBE as a desirable criteria for the appointment of new posts; inclusion of CPD activities in annual reviews/appraisals; funding of CPD activities as necessary to meet the annual requirements of the CMBE; providing workload hours to achieve CPD activities. This list is not exhaustive, but provides some thoughts on how, as a community, we take the next steps to support the future development of our faculty in the journey of continuous improvement in learning, teaching and the student experience.
Professor Liz Warren CMBE, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the Busines School (Interim), University of Greenwich and Dr Adam Shore CMBE, Director of the School of Business and Management, Liverpool John Moores University. Both Liz and Adam were on the working group responsible for developing the Certified Management & Business Educator, and our members of the CMBE Professional Standards Board.
Hewitt, Rachel (2020). Students’ views on the impact of Coronavirus on their higher education experience in 2020/21. HEPI Policy note 27. Higher Education Policy Institute.
Kok, Jacobus, and Van Den Heuvel, Steven (Eds.) (2019). Leading in a VUVA World. Springer International Publishing.
Schwab, Klaus (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. New York: Crown Publishing Group (published 2017).