This chapter focusses on the evolving role and impact of academic development, evaluating the challenges and shifting approaches for teaching excellence, recognition and student experience across the sector. The authors reflect on experiences in a centre for academic development, charged with offering and engaging staff in professional development, learning design and enhancement. Internationally, academic development has evolved dramatically, with diverse settings, structures, roles and activities in Higher Education settings. The influence of culture and environment has shifted the focus of academic development from individual academics to programme teams and departmental leadership, often with a role in encouraging both institutional and individual change.

Based on research and reflection on six years of enhancement activities, this case study reflects on the trend towards more strategic alignment to the wider institutional and national change agenda. Through a developmental, dialogic approach to engaging academic teachers in conversations about teaching and student learning, we evaluate and learn to share and implement enhancement of values, behaviour and practice. Staff views reflect varying levels of engagement across ‘microcultures’ in schools and faculties, particularly during a period of organisational restructuring and change.

We present an overview of the discipline of academic development that considers the importance of institutional research for evaluation of change, impact and the professional development of staff in learning and teaching. While understanding that collaborative endeavours are more likely to achieve sustained and transformative change, this learning community approach requires continuous relationship-building, clarity on institutional priorities and promotion of benefits to the student learning experience.