Today’s world is in a state of permanent and radical change which is affecting society, science and the economy in equal measure. In this process universities, as research institutions, are major and active protagonists. To prepare their graduates, however, they must also adapt their teaching to the new scenario of change. They must set new objectives, and be ready to deploy innovative approaches to teaching, learning and curriculum design.
How can universities best do these things? How can they prepare today’s students to operate in a new research and working environment? How can they utilise new forms of teaching and learning effectively to equip students with the 21st-century skills they require and the tools to face the as-yet-undefined workings of a global economy? What didactic and technical approaches should they take? How might university teaching and learning spaces change? And: What roles do faculty and students play in modern university teaching scenarios? What pedagogical skills and leadership attitudes do university faculty need in order to foster student-oriented teaching? Future-oriented universities must find workable answers to these and other questions.
Academic developers are in a position to play an essential role in this context. How can they help university teachers to acquire and develop a new range of competences? Are courses and workshops the only answer, or are entirely new perspectives, approaches and concepts required? Academic developers also have the potential to initiate and sustain organisational change within universities. How can they best address diverse faculty and student bodies and facilitate processes of change?
In times of change, examples of good practice and innovative teaching and learning forms from around the world are key to identifying and developing robust, functional models and concepts. The goal of the ICED 2020 conference at ETH Zurich is to foster a future-oriented exchange and discussion among ICED members on how university faculty may be enabled to forge, from the students of today, the future-ready graduates of tomorrow.