Professional Development in Higher Education Teaching (PD-HET) SIG

The purpose of this SIG is to provide a forum for discussion about the professional development of those who teach in Higher Education (HE). The SIG particularly welcomes HE staff who have a teaching role as well as educational researchers. The group focuses on supporting the professional development of those who teach by promoting mentoring initiatives, sharing resources and engaging in collaborative activities. The SIG will draw on the expertise and experiences of key stakeholders in all educational sectors as well as industry partners to create an evidence-base for supporting professional development planning for teaching in HE.

This SIG will provide opportunities to engage in professional dialogue, teaching practices and educational research about supporting HE staff to achieve excellence in teaching and learning while maintaining their research profile. Further, the group is committed to exploring the design of evidence-based frameworks to support professional development planning for those who teach in HE. The primary objectives of the SIG are aligned with the strategic priorities of the ESAI and the frameworks of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

A key challenge to encouraging, supporting and maintaining enthusiasm for engaging in professional development among those who teach in HE is knowing how to build sustainable and equitable professional networks within and across institutions. The SIG will be committed to this priority.

SIG Convenor: Eilis Flanagan

Contact details: Email | Twitter @EilisFlanagan

Professional Development in Higher Education Teaching (PDHET)

SIG Interim Report

Dr Eílis Flanagan, LYIT (SIG Convenor)

Dr Sharon Feeney TU Dublin (Treasurer)

Dr Lynn Ramsey, LYIT (Member)

Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway (Member)

Dr Róisín Donnelly, TU Dublin (Member)


The purpose of this SIG is to provide a forum for starting conversations with colleagues around professional development and is aimed at anybody who teaches within higher education (HE) across Ireland.


At the start of the funding period of our SIG, we had in place plans for engagement with the sector through a series of face-to-face and online events. However, we postponed our work as a SIG due to various challenges we were facing at that time, not least the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and our various evolving caring responsibilities. To add to this, members of our operational group changed employment through the year while others have experienced a shift in their role with added pressures due to the changing landscape of higher education, undoubtedly felt by colleagues across the sector. Although our initial planned activities were unavoidably postponed, we have begun to re-focus our efforts and our thematic approach to engaging with colleagues and progressing the dialogue around professional development for higher education teaching. Our focus now rests on sharing practice about the benefits, challenges and pitfalls around how and when we engage in all the different types of professional development. Through our newly-planned approach to this SIG we aim to embed the perspectives and experiences of students and their engagement in learning within our conversations about how our professional practice and growth in our field of expertise impacts student engagement/success. The work we will undertake throughout this next year will be underpinned by a thematic approach to planned activities, centred around (1) exploring national and international frameworks and principles, (2) supporting conversations with national and international colleagues, (3) answering the pandemic with flexible opportunities for PD, (4) building partnerships within and across institutions and (5) valuing engagement in PD & the Scholarship of Teaching. Our intended actions include presenting at ESAI events, SIG meetings and offering a series of webinars and panel discussions on the theme, which will take place from June through April 2022.


We hope that this SIG will be an opportunity for us all to share experiences and practice about how we progress our professional journeys in HE teaching, alongside a future-facing piece about the scholarship of teaching and how we prioritise our practice, research activities and civic engagement duties.

SIG Convenor: Eilis Flanagan

Contact details: Email | Twitter @EilisFlanagan




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