Generation TEF:Teaching in the spotlight

<strong>Generation TEF:</strong>Teaching in the spotlight

Dates: 4-6 July 2017
Venue: Manchester
Who: All higher education professionals

This event has taken place

Find out about #HEAconf18

This event has taken place.

Back by popular demand after an absence of three years. 

The HEA Annual Conference returned in July 2017 after a three year break with a packed programme of over 400 sessions and 800 delegates.

The conference gave delegates the chance to share their experiences of teaching and learning – ideas, research, good practice and top tips.  

With the release of TEF 2 results only a few short weeks before the conference the event provided a fantastic opportunity for discussion about TEF in the context of different disciplines to take place.

Conference highlights

Highlights from the event included:

Day 1 – 4 July

Dr Helen Bevan, OBE from the NHS and Dr Alison James, University of Winchester looked at organisational change and the importance of curriculum development from Health and Social Care and Arts and Humanities perspectives. 

Day 2 – 5 July

The tone was set for the middle day of the conference by Eric Stoller’s, keynote ‘Getting Digital’, his enthusiasm for social media use in higher education led many to take to twitter for the first time in following days. 

Day 3 – 6 July

The final day saw Giskin Day of Imperial College London and Professor Alasdair Blair from De Montfort University focus on ‘Playing for education’ in STEM and TEF in the Social Sciences.

Dates for the 2018 HEA Annual Conference are already in the diary, 3 – 5 July 2018. The venue and theme are currently TBC. 

Keynote speakers

The programme was designed to shine a spotlight on teaching excellence as relevant to each discipline cluster. The three days also allowed the HEA to welcome a number of expert keynote speakers.

Eric Stoller

Eric is a higher education thought-leader, consultant, writer, and speaker with an expertise in how educators can use social media for learning and engagement. Eric spoke on the morning of the 5 July, which was day two of the HEA’s flagship event and focused on strategic and thematic priorities in the sector.     

You can follow Eric on Twitter: @EricStoller

Find out more about Eric.

Dr Helen Bevan

Dr Helen Bevan delivered the Health and Social Care keynote address. Helen has been a leader of large scale change in the English National Health Service for more than 20 years. Helen has been at the forefront of many NHS improvement initiatives which have made a difference for thousands of patients ever since.

In 2010, Helen’s team launched a call to action, utilising social movement leadership principles, which contributed to a 51% reduction in prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia across the country.

You can follow Helen on Twitter: @helenbevan
Find out more about Helen               View Helen's presentation

Giskin Day

Giskin Day delivered the STEM keynote address. Giskin is committed to enriching students’ educational experiences through creative teaching and learning. She is a National Teaching Fellow based at Imperial College London where she coordinates a suite of interdisciplinary courses for STEMM students.

Giskin originally studied botany in South Africa. She subsequently worked in scientific publishing and at the Science Museum London before embarking on a teaching career in higher education. She is an advocate of playful learning which she incorporates into her teaching in science communication and medical humanities. Giskin is a recipient of a President’s Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence in Teaching from Imperial College.

You can follow Giskin on Twitter: @giskinday

View Giskin's presentation

Dr Alison James

Alison James delivered the Arts and Humanities keynote address. Alison is Acting Director of Academic Quality and Development and Head of Learning and Teaching at the University of Winchester. She is former Associate Dean Learning & Teaching at the London College of Fashion and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.  Her higher education career has focused on working with creative arts staff and students and in May 2014 Alison was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in the UK. 

You can follow Alison on Twitter: @alisonrjames

Professor Alasdair Blair

Alasdair Blair is Associate Dean Academic in the Faculty of Business and Law and Jean Monnet Professor of International Relations. He is also Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of European Governance. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a National Teaching Fellow. Within the University he is chair of the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee. Outside the University he is Honorary Treasurer of the Political Studies Association and editor of European Political Science.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter: @Alasdair_Blair

Conference sessions

After receiving an extremely large volume of high quality submissions our full programme for the 2017 Annual Conference was developed. 

If you want to revisit the sessions you attended or missed out on them or the conference as a whole, view the presentations from the majority of the annual conference breakout sessions.


Read through the vibrant tweets of the days at #HEAconf17. Click on the links below to view the storifys of each day plus the Annual Debate.

Storify 1: Arts and Humanities & Health and Social Care

Storify 2: Strategy and Sector Priorities

Storify 3: Annual Debate

Storify 4: STEM & Social Sciences

The Annual Conference 2017 Debate

This year saw a new addition to the HEA calendar, our first Annual Debate. It was held on the evening of the second day of the conference (5 July 2017), following a three course meal at the Mercure Hotel in Manchester. The debate used an adapted parliamentary-style format over 90 minutes and was preceded by a drinks reception and a three course dinner. 

The motion up for debate was crowdsourced in the run up to the conference as: 

“This house believes that the assessment of teaching excellence is a futile exercise as it is inherently immeasurable.”


Unfortunately, Phyllida Hancock who was billed as host for the evening was forced to cancel at last minute and HEA Board member Johnny Rich stepped up in her place and encouraged a lively exchange. Andy Westwood and Smita Jamdar spoke in favour of the proposed motion, while the opposing team – Eric Stoller and Mark Jones – argued against it.

Although a hard fought battle both in the room and on twitter which even questioned the TEF grading of Hogwarts, the winners were decide by those in the room to be Andy Westwood and Smita Jamdar in the for camp.

A recording of the debate will be available shortly. 

Conference sponsors and exhibitors

The Higher Education Academy gratefully acknowledges the support of our sponsors and exhibitors.


If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at future HEA events, please contact