Exploring expertise in teaching in higher education: The artistry of teaching

Expertise Symposium, 14 to 21 October 2022, hosted online by the University of Warwick

About the symposium

This second event follows in the footsteps of the success of the 2020 ‘Exploring Expertise’ symposium and subsequent Routledge/SEDA book ‘Developing Expertise for Teaching in Higher Education’.

The concept of expertise complements and challenges the rhetoric of excellence. Excellence is poorly defined, whereas expertise has a deep literature base behind it (eg Ericsson et al 2006 and 2018). Excellence, by definition and derivation - from the Latin 'excellere' (ex – ‘out, beyond’; celsus – ‘lofty’) - is not available to all; we can't all be outstanding. Expertise, (from the Latin 'experiri': to try, which is also the root of experience and experiment) is a process potentially accessible by all. If we can identify the ways of thinking and practising and characteristics of expertise in teachers in higher education, this may then help inform the enhancement of learning, teaching and educational development (Kreber et al, 2005; Saroyan and Trigwell, 2015).

King’s model broadly categorises expertise for teaching in higher education into three intersecting areas:

  • pedagogic content knowledge (Shulman, 1986)
  • artistry of teaching (Schön, 1982; Eisner, 2002 )
  • professional learning (King, 2019 and 2022)

This second symposium will bring together researchers, educators, educational developers and others interested in the topic to explore the various dimensions of teacher expertise in higher education, with a particular focus on the concept of ‘artistry’ of teaching. 

Key theme: The artistry of teaching

The ways of thinking and practising as a teacher cannot necessarily be reduced to a simple pedagogic formula." As Schön says:

"Let us search, instead, for an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners do bring to situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness and value conflict." (1982, p 49)

The ways of thinking and practising, the pattern recognition, problem-solving and adaptive expertise of teaching “requires sensibility, imagination, technique, and the ability to make judgements about the feel and significance of the particular.” “Teaching profits from – no, requires at its best – artistry.” (Eisner, 2002; p 382).

Artistry, in my model of teacher expertise, encapsulates those more intangible characteristics that makes expertise recognisable. It emphasises the relational nature of teaching, that it is fundamentally about human interactions. Artistry relates to aspects of performance such as being authentic to oneself, and engaging an audience and improvisation... It also links to the importance of relational pedagogy and the need to make meaningful connections with students" (Gravett and Winstone, 2020).

"A teacher with expertise will have care: they will care enough for their students’ learning to better understand them as individuals and to develop effective relationships, and also to spend time on continuing to improve their own teaching.” (King, 2022)


The live and asynchronous sessions will be hosted online by the Academic Development Centre at the University of Warwick using MS Teams.

Video, audio and digital poster presentations will be available online for viewing and comment from Monday 17 October 2022, and for live viewing and discussion via watch parties on MS Teams. Recordings of the live sessions on Friday 14 October 2022 will also be made available.

All times are British Summer Time (BST).

Friday 14 October 2022
Live presentations
09:30-11:30: Performance, Improvisation and Creativity
12:00-14:00: Authenticity and Professional Identity
14:30-16:45: Developing Expertise

Monday 17 October 2022
09:00–10:00: Watch Party and Discussion - Performance, Improvisation and Creativity

Tuesday 18 October 2022
09:00–10:00: Watch Party and Discussion - Authenticity and Professional Identity

Wednesday 19 October 2022
09:00–10:00: Watch Party and Discussion – Developing Expertise I

Thursday 20 October 2022
09:00–10:00: Watch Party and Discussion – Developing Expertise II

Friday 21 October 2022
09:00–10:00: Panel Summary and Discussion

View the full details of the presentations with abstracts (PDF)


Registration for the symposium will be free and all presenters must formally register.

Registration closes at midnight (BST) on Wednesday 12 October 2022.

Register your place


Symposium convenor

Planning team


  • Eisner, EW (2002) From episteme to phronesis to artistry in the study and improvement of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 375-385.
  • Ericsson, KA; Charness, N; Feltovich, PJ; and Hoffman, RR (eds) (2006) The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Ericsson, KA; Hoffman, RR; Kozbelt, A; and Williams, AM (eds) (2018) The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • King (2019) Continuing Professional Development: What do award-winning academics do? Educational Developments, 20(2), pp 1-4.
  • King (2022) Developing Expertise for Teaching in Higher Education. Routledge/SEDA.
  • Kreber, C; Castleden, H; Erfani, N; and Wright, T (2005) Self-regulated learning about university teaching: an exploratory study, Teaching in Higher Education, 10(1), pp 75-97.
  • Saroyan, A and Trigwell, K (2015) Higher education teachers’ professional learning: Process and outcome. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 46, pp 92-101.
  • Shulman, LS (1986) Those who understand: knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Research, 15(2), pp 4-31.
  • Schön, D (1982) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. Routledge, London.

In collaboration with

  • University of Warwick logo

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