SDF as a space for creativity, connection and co-creation… and merry Christmas

by Rossana Espinoza 0

It’s been an incredible privilege to lead the Staff Development Forum this year as a Chair. Back in 2016, when I joined the SDF as a Communications Officer, I never thought I would take on this voluntary role. As the SDF Executive team is growing to offer more exciting range of activities, my role is evolving too and is proving to be an ever more rewarding one.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me in delivering the first virtual SDF Festival of Learning and Development, re-imagining the partnering relationship with AdvanceHE, revitalising the Eastern Region Forum and co-creating an ongoing engagement with partners replacing the traditional model of sponsors.

The way we have conducted the SDF National event is shifting into something even more exciting and human centred, which is enabling us to learn from each other and other sectors. Next year, we will continue with this virtual format, and I am pleased to announce that the University of Liverpool will be leading the organisation of the second virtual SDF Festival supported by the SDF Executive team.

Our SDF membership continues to evolve, equally the SDF Council membership, I am enormously grateful to Amanda Giles, Parul Modha and Caroline Bryant for the support they have provided to the SDF regional networks as Co-chairs. As you moved into other adventures, my hear is with you and wishes you massive success in whatever you do. Our regional members will remember you dearly and are thankful for the dedication and endeavour.

The SDF’s future is incredibly exciting. In the new year, we plan to further increase the opportunities for connection and co-creation of learning — having recently launched the Active Learning Special Interest Group, during the Festival, fantastically led by Michael Monaghan from Liverpool John Moores  — we would like to deepen our commitment to wellbeing, academic development, diversity, equity and inclusion through the work of the SDF Executive and whoever else would like to help us. Our SDF membership is at the heart of that.

The 2021 plan includes working more closely with the finalists of the SDF Awards 2020: University of Liverpool and University of Huddersfield. We invite you to learn more about what they have done and welcome your ideas on how we could integrate their work into the SDF nationally.

The SDF is developing its online presence in AdvanceHE Connect, by introducing a closed space dedicated to the sharing of the SDF Festival resources (videos and zoom chats) available to the HE colleagues who attended the Festival. In 2021, we will also develop an open space to support SDF’ streams of work available to all members.

Next year will continue to be uncertain, but I am certain the SDF will go on to even better things, and I look forward to contributing to its next stage of development as a Chair. Thank you again for your continued support and commitment to this wonderful organisation.

This year’s greatest adventures happened at home. I’d like to wish you all a merry festive season with even more great and loving adventures.  ​​​

Best wishes




Dr Rossana Espinoza


Staff Development Forum (SDF)

SDF LinkedIn