Supporting curriculum renewal and innovation in a research-intensive university: challenges and opportunities

Organized by
Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Speaker: Dr Cathy Gunn, Head of e-learning Group, Centre for Academic Development, The University of Auckland
Date: Jan 19, 2012 (Thur)
Time: 12:45pm – 2:00pm
Venue: Room 321, Run Run Shaw Building, HKU


Large-scale curriculum renewal and innovation in universities is a key instrument of strategic change. Like all strategic initiatives, the process is guided by a vision, and achieved through identification of desirable outcomes, and the actions or changes that are required to achieve them. Consultation brings the available expertise together to move the process forward, and evaluation is conducted to monitor progress and outcomes. Success generally depends on strong leadership, collaboration among interested parties, and alignment of the objectives of change with a range of individual and institutional factors that relate to the context it plays out in. Central service units provide a critical facilitation role.

This seminar outlines how a Capacity Development Framework – one of many theoretical models designed to manage strategic change – could keep a strategic curriculum renewal initiative on track in a large, research intensive university, where a complex combination of external (government policy and international trends) and internal (institutional and individual) influences are present. The challenge of aligning institutional, Faculty and individual priorities and perspectives is acknowledged as significant in this context. The exceptional and timely opportunities created by a sector-wide curriculum renewal initiative in Hong Kong in 2012 are noted as powerful enabling factors. Evidence drawn from personal experience and published sources is offered to support the case presented.

About the Speaker:

Dr Cathy Gunn has played key roles in Australasia’s tertiary education sector during sixteen years with the University of Auckland’s Centre for Academic Development. She has worked collaboratively across the disciplines in New Zealand’s leading research university to design and deliver a range of courses, including school and university teacher education and professional development programmes. She has developed and implemented strategies to support organizational change driven by new pedagogies and technology, and to promote sustainable innovations. Cathy’s research investigates contemporary issues in elearning, educational leadership, sustainable innovation and organizational change. She has more than twenty years work experience in tertiary institutions, mainly in Scotland and New Zealand, but also Hong Kong and Australia.

In her current role, Cathy leads and manages a multi-skilled professional elearning team in a central service unit that promotes the institutional strategic objective of excellence in teaching and learning. She made a significant contribution to the international research community as an Executive Member (1999 – 2001), Vice President (2002 – 2003), and President (2004 – 2008) of Ascilite, Australasia’s leading professional society for elearning researchers and practitioners. In the past few years, she has contributed to six Australian Teaching and Learning Council (ALTC) initiatives on learning innovation and educational leadership capacity development.

Before moving to New Zealand in 1995, Cathy was a Research Associate in Educational Technology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where she completed a Masters degree in Human Computer Interaction and a PhD in Computer Based Learning Research. Earlier employment as an Economics Researcher / Writer for Lloyds of London Press Ltd. provides complementary experience from the commercial sector. A portfolio of more than 100 scholarly publications, visiting scholarships, keynote addresses and technical reports, reflects the breadth of her interests and experience.

For information on registration, please contact:
Ms Ivy Lai, CETL
Phone: 2859 8996; Email:

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