What Price Excellence in Learning and Teaching? Exploring the Costs and Benefits for Diverse Academic Staff Studying for a GCHE Supporting the SoTL.
Keywords:academic development, graduate certificate in higher education, teaching excellence, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
In the wake of policy, technology, and ideological disruptions in Western higher education, it is in universities’ interests to improve the quality of their learning and teaching to meet changed expectations. In some countries, particularly anglophone countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the medium for this improvement is often professional development of academic staff provided through a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (GCHE). This paper presents mixed methods research conducted at an Australian University. It addresses the questions of how a GCHE contributes to teaching quality and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) from the perspective of course participants and their educators in the context of a university wide strategy to promote a culture of excellence in learning and teaching. Data and analysis indicate significant benefits to academic staff, their students, and the host institution from completion of a GCHE. However, tensions around academic workloads, compulsion, and some contradictions in espoused educational values and managerialist impositions emerge in these advancements. The educators in the GCHE (academic developers) were sometimes caught in the crossfire. Their reflections on this experience are included in the data and analysis.
Akalu, Girmaw A. 2016. “Higher Education ‘Massification’ and Challenges to the Professoriate: Do Academics’ Conceptions of Quality Matter?” Quality in Higher Education 22, no. 3: 260–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/13538322.2016.1266230.
Altbach, Philip G., Liz Reisberg, and Hans de Wit. 2017. Responding to Massification: Differentiation in Postsecondary Education Worlwide. Hamburg.
Anon. 2019. “Casualisation of Academic Teaching.” The Saturday Paper, June 27, 2019. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2019/07/27/casualisation-academic-teaching/15641496008514.
Australian Catholic University. 2017. “Teaching Criteria and Standards Framework.” https://policies.acu.edu.au/learning_and_teaching/teaching_criteria_and_standards_framework.
Australian Catholic University. 2019. “Our Approach to Teaching and Learning.” https://www.acu.edu.au/study-at-acu/why-study-at-acu/our-approach-to-learning-and-teaching.
Barradell, Sarah, Sarah Down, Damian M. Spencer, and Tai T. Peseta. 2012. “Negotiating New Research Identities through the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.” HERDSA New 34, no. 1: 13–14.
Blair, Nerida, and Brooke Collins-Gearing. 2017. “Reflective Practice: Ancient Wisdom and Practice–Australian Indigenous Reflections in Teacher Education Through Shared Storying.” In Reflective Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, 63–83. Singapore: Springer.
Boud, David, and Rebeca Soler. 2016. “Sustainable Assessment Revisited.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 41, no. 3: 400–413. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2015.1018133.
Boyer, Ernest L. 1990. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, New Jersey: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Bradley, Denise, Peter Noonan, Helen Nugent, Bill Scales. 2008. Review of Australian Higher Education: Final Report. Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Retrieved from http://hdl.voced.edu.au/10707/44384.
Braxton, John M. 2006. “Faculty Professional Choices in Teaching That Foster Student Success.”
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2017. Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. 2nd ed. New York: Josey-Bass.
Caritas Australia. 2019. “Catholic Social Teaching.” https://www.caritas.org.au/learn/cst.
Chalmers, Denise. 2007. A Review of Australian and International Quality Systems and Indicators of Learning and Teaching. Canberra: Carrick Institute.
Chalmers, Denise. n.d. “Australian University Teaching & Criteria & Standards.” http://uniteachingcriteria.edu.au/framework/indicative-criteria/indicative-standards-criteria/standards-criteria-criterion-6/.
Chalmers, Denise, Rick Cummings, Sofia Elliot, Sue Stoney, Beatrice Tucker, Rachel Wicking, and Trina de St Jorre. 2014. “Australian University Teaching Criteria and Standards Project.” Sydney.
Chick, Nancy, Lorelli Nowell, and Bartlomiej Lenart. 2019. “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Scoping Review Protocol.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 7, no. 2: 186–97. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.7.2.12.
Clarke, Deborah, and Anne Llewellyn. 2012. “Examining the Efficacy of a Work-Based Learning Project: Preparing New Academics to Teach in Higher Education.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 13, no. 3: 147–58.
Collis, Kevin F., and John B. Biggs. 1982. “Description of the SOLO Taxonomy.” In Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome), 23–29. New York: Academic Press.
Connell, Raewyn. 2010. “The Neoliberal Cascade and Education: An Essay on the Market Agenda and its Consequences.” Critical Studies in Education 54, no. 2: 99–112. https://doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2013.776990.
Daniels, Jeannie. 2017. “Professional Learning in Higher Education: Making Good Practice Relevant.” International Journal for Academic Development 22, no. 2: 170–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2016.1261352.
Dawkins, John. 1988. Higher Education: A Policy Statement. Canberra.
Drew, Steve, Christopher Klopper, and Duncan Nulty. 2015. “Defining and Developing a Framework for the Peer Observation of Teaching.” In Teaching for Learning and Learning for Teaching: Peer Review of Teaching in Higher Education, edited by Chistopher Klopper and Steve Drew, 13–34. Rotterdam: Sense.
Duffy, Thomas M., and Pamela L. Raymer. 2010. “A Practical Guide and a Constructivist Rationale for Inquiry Based Learning.” Educational Technology.
Fahnert, Beatrix. 2015. “Teaching Matters—Academic Professional Development in the Early 21st Century.” FEMS Microbiology Letters 362, no. 20. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnv156.
Ginns, Paul, Jim Kitay, and Michael Prosser. 2010. “Transfer of Academic Staff Learning in a Research-Intensive University.” Teaching in Higher Education 15, no. 3: 235–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562511003740783.
Haight, Wendy and Laurel Bidwell. 2016. Mixed Methods Social Work Research: Integrating Methodologies to Strengthen Practice and Policy. Chicago: Lyceum.
Hamilton, Jillian, Mandy Thomas, Susan J. Carson, and Elizabeth Ellison. 2014. “Good Practice Report: Postgraduate Research and Coursework Degrees.”
Hardy, Ian, and Erica Smith. 2006. “Contesting Tertiary Teaching Qualifications: an Australian Perspective.” Teaching in Higher Education 11, no. 3: 337–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510600680798.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. 2014. Mixed Methods Research: Merging Theory with Practice, New York: Guilford
Kern, Beth, Gwendolyn Mettetal, Marcia Dixson, and Robin K. Morgan. 2015. “The Role of SoTL in the Academy: Upon the 25th Anniversary of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered.” Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 15, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v15i3.13623.
Knowles, Malcolm. 1984. The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. 3rd ed. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.
Kolb, David A. 1981. “Learning Styles and Disciplinary Diferences.” In The Modern American College, edited by Arthur W. Chickering. California: Jossey-Bass Inc.
Kong, Siu Cheung, Tak Lam Wong, Min Yang, Cheunk Fai Chow, and Ka Ho Tse. 2017. Emerging Practices in Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in a Digital Era. Singapore: Springer.
Krathwohl, David R, Benjamin S Bloom, and Bertram B. Masia. 1964. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Gals. New York: David McKay.
Lawrence, Jenny, and Gail Hall. 2018. “Understanding the Provision and Perceived Value of the Academic and Professional Development Practices of HE Teachers in College-Based Higher Education (CHE).” Research in Post-Compulsory Education 23, no. 4: 437–62. https://doi.org/10.1080/13596748.2018.1526903.
Metz, Steve. 2006. “Problem Based Learning.” The Science Teacher 73, no. 8: 8.
Nelson, Brendan. 2003. Our Universities: Backing Australia’s Future. Canberra.
Nulty, Duncan. 2019. “Strand 2, Module 1: Introduction to Key Principles.” In University Teaching: Core Skills, edited by Epigeum. Oxford University Press.
Ödalen, Jörgen, Douglas Brommesson, Gissur Ó Erlingsson, Johan Karlsson Schaffer, and Mattias Fogelgren. 2019. “Teaching University Teachers to Become Better Teachers: The Effects of Pedagogical Training Courses at Six Swedish Universities.” Higher Education Research & Development 38, no. 2: 339–53. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2018.1512955.
Pleschová, Gabriela, Eszter Simon, Kathleen M. Quinlan, Jennifer Murphy, Torgny Roxå, and Mátyás Szabó. 2012. “The Professionalisation of Academics as Teachers in Higher Education.” Strasbourg.
Quinn, Lynn 2017. “Understanding Resistance: An Analysis of Discourses in Academic Staff Development.” Studies In Higher Education 37, no. 1: 69–83.
Sharon, Andrew and Elizabeth Halcomb. 2009. Mixed Methods Research for Nursing and the Health Sciences,
Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Blackwell.
Simon, Eszter, and Gabriela Pleschová. 2012. Teacher Development in Higher Education: Existing Programs, Program Impact, and Future Trends NY, London: Routledge.
Skelton, Alan. 2005. Understanding Teaching Excellence in Higher Education: Towards a Critical Approach. New York: Routledge.
Tertiary Education Quality Assurance Agency. 2015. “TEQSA Higher Education Standards Framework 2015.” Australian Government. Accessed June 6, 2018. https://www.teqsa.gov.au/higher-education-standards-framework-2015.
Tertiary Education Quality Assurance Agency. 2018. “Guidance Note: Scholarship.” https://www.teqsa.gov.au/latest-news/publications/guidance-note-scholarship.
Trigwell, Keith. 2012a. “Evaluating the Impact of University Teaching Development Programmes Methodologies that Ask Why There is an Impact.” In Teacher Development in Higher Education: Existing Programs, Program Impact, and Future Trends, edited by E. Simon and G. Pleschová, 257–73. NY. London: Routledge.
Trigwell, Keith. 2012b. “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” In University Teaching in Focus, edited by Lynne Hunt and Denise Chalmers, 253–67. Camberwell: ACER.
Tynan, Belinda, Coralie McCormack, Marilyn Fisher, Margaret Zeegers, and Heather Sparrow. 2009. “GCTE: A National Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education.”
Watkins, Daphne. 2017. “Mixed Methods Research.” Encyclopedia of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.989.
West, Roderick. 1998. Learning for Life: Review of Higher Education Financing and Policy: Final Report. Canberra.
Wood, Margaret, and Feng Su. 2017. “What Makes an Excellent Lecturer? Academics’ Perspectives on the Discourse of ‘Teaching Excellence’ in Higher Education.” Teaching In Higher Education 22, no. 4: 451–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2017.1301911.
Yazan, Bedrettin. 2015. “Three Approaches to Case Study Methods in Education: Yin, Merriam, and Stake.” The Qualitative Report 22, no. 2:134–52. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol20/iss2/12.
Yunkaporta, Tyson. 2009. “Aboriginal Pedagogies at the Cultural Interface.” Professional Doctorate, James Cook University.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Alison Owens, Angela Daddow, Georgia Clarkson, Duncan Nulty
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.