Keynote speakers

Designing Curriculum in the Age of Diversity: Helping Students Becoming the Best Possible Version of Themselves
by Cesar Ortega-Sanchez

Cesar Ortega-Sanchez is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Curtin Academy. He is currently Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Curtin University in Western Australia. He is interested on how social and technological changes affect education, and what can be done to facilitate learning and teaching. He is a regular contributor in higher education conferences as presenter and keynote speaker. His favourite topics are curriculum and assessment design, first year experience, project-based learning and capstone projects.

As if subjected to Darwinian forces, Higher Education is always evolving to adapt to changes in the environment: Regulatory bodies, university policy, industry demands, student expectations; all play a part in the design, review and amendment of curriculum. But with so many voices, designing curriculum that meets everybody’s expectations is practically impossible. The success of a curriculum, as measured by students’ attainment of the learning outcomes, heavily depends on students’ engagement with the material and activities involved. Furthermore, the same curriculum can be experienced very differently depending on students’ backgrounds and lifestyles. And today’s cohorts are much more diverse than 20 years ago! In this talk Cesar offers a reflection about the perceived decline in some students’ ability to engage in learning activities, and invites listeners to consider some possibilities to improve the quality and effectiveness of university programs.

Leading the Way
by Andrea Ward

Andrea Ward is a Principal Fellow and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and certified Business Management and Educator (CMBE), a professional recognition from the Chartered Association of Management Schools (CABS). She also holds a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and is an Associate of the CIPD. Andrea is also a governor of the DN College Group, a combined FE and HE provider, and holds the vice chair position of the Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee of CABS where she has been a reviewer for their LTSE conference since 2021. Andrea has also been a Visitor Professor at the University of Primorska.

Following a career of 20 years in industry across many sectors, industries and job roles she commenced her formal entry into the world of Higher Education in 2013, at the University of Sheffield Management School. Andrea quickly made her mark both internally and externally by becoming Director of Teaching, Quality and Enhancement for PGT, shortlisted for Turnitin Global awards in Innovation (2014), awarded the Jane Ryland Award (2015) for use of technology in education, one of only 4 in the UK to ever win this award. In 2016, Andrea was awarded the Early Career Senate award from the University of Sheffield for her innovation in education before being appointed as Associate Dean for Education (2018). This role saw lots of changes and turbulence; first with the national UK strike action, and then Covid. Andrea is currently Deputy Dean of the College of Business Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby.

Andrea’s success is driven by her passion of providing students with the highest quality learning experience, changing HE from the inside out, and positive collaboration across all teams to make meaningful differences to learners. As one student put it “Andrea not only attempts to develop employable people, but she has assured that we are employed by making us decipher for ourselves the real-world skills for real world situations”.

AI_ways for higher education
by Susanna Sancassani

Susanna Sancassani is the Head of Unit of METID, the task force devoted to teaching and learning innovation at  Politecnico di Milano, where she is lecturer of “Teaching methodologies, strategies and styles” at the PhD School and responsible of the Faculty development about teaching innovation.  One of the pioneer of digital learning in Italy she is part of the Directive Board of the Italian Society of e-Learning (sieL) and of several international boards as the Scientific Committee of International Consortium for Educational Development 2024.

With other colleagues she has published “La ricerca del giusto mezzo: strategie di equilibrio tra aula e digitale” (Milano, Pearson 2023), “Progettare l’Innovazione didattica” (Milan , Pearson 2019, eng. Version  for the global distribution “Designing Teaching Innovation” Milan , Pearson 2021) “Costruire servizi digitali” (Milan, Apogeo, 2003) “Il bit e la tartaruga” (Milan Apogeo, 2004) and “e-Collaboration: the sense of the Web” (Milan, Apogeo 2011).