Teaching Academy

As part of the Education Strategy, we are establishing a sustainable, inclusive and impactful teaching excellence academy for Charles Sturt. We want an institution that recognises, rewards and values excellent teaching, with increased scholarly activity leading to greater research grant success and National and International Teaching Awards.

The Academy model is informed by the following:

  • A systematic national and international benchmarking of university teaching academies
  • An internal staff survey
  • Ongoing consultation with staff

Aligning Academy activity with University priorities and embedding it in our everyday activities, structures and processes will be essential.

Areas of strategic activity

Learning and teaching academies consistently endorse several broad areas of strategic activity as the potential benefits of an academy. A consistent theme is that the higher-order purpose of an Academy is positively impacting student learning and success. Other areas include:

  • Developing educators
  • Advancing First Nations education
  • Expanding university influence and brand
  • Innovating practice
  • Connecting the learning and teaching community
  • Valuing learning and teaching
  • Advancing educators careers
  • Inquiring and evidencing practice
  • Leading learning and teaching

Strategic goals for the Academy

These areas have been endorsed by surveyed staff as the expected ‘potential benefits’ of an academy and provide a framework for formulating a fit-for-purpose Charles Sturt strategy

The project

This project will develop a Teaching Excellence Academy with open membership for all staff and students interested in learning and teaching.

The Teaching Academy will:

  • contribute to educational excellence, positively impacting student learning.
  • recognise, reward and value excellent teaching
  • promote collaboration, innovation and excellence in learning and teaching
  • be driven by increased scholarly activity
  • lead to greater research grant success

A ‘hub and spokes’ Academy structure is proposed to best fit the University organisation of central elements (hub) and discipline-based Faculties (spokes). This type of Academy structure values both whole-of-University and disciplinary identities aligning both institutional and faculty plans and priorities and facilitating both University and Faculty leadership of learning and teaching.  The Academy’s work would be delivered through a range of strategic partnerships with university elements, professional learning networks and communities of practice.

Two-tiered membership:

A two-tiered membership strategy is proposed for the Academy: Open membership for all staff and students with an interest in learning and teaching and Fellowship standing for staff based on their achievements, scholarship and leadership in learning and teaching. This approach to membership is expected to optimise inclusion, aspiration, and impact.

Open membership:

Academy membership is open to:

  • Academic and professional staff employed in sessional, part-time or continuing roles.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with interest in learning and teaching
  • Staff or associates in clinical education, supervisory and adjunct roles

We propose an ‘opt-in’ (open, inclusive and welcoming) approach to membership.

Benefits:

The benefits of Academy membership would include the following:

  • Membership in an active and supportive learning community
  • Participation in a range of professional learning and development activities
  • Opportunities for leadership, contribution and recognition
  • Opportunities to participate in scholarly and innovative projects

The Academy was benchmarked with over 60 national and international universities This benchmarking exercise aimed to identify best practices and potential teaching academy models. It investigated:

  • teaching academies' organisational models, strategic goals and activities.
  • the academy
    • culture and values
    • goals and functions
    • strategies and activities
    • membership criteria/ benefits and expectations
    • leadership and management
  • the university context for an academy

A survey for establishing a teaching academy was promoted throughout May. Eighty-six staff completed the survey.  Survey responses came from across the faculties and divisions. Over 76% of respondents reported being a Subject Coordinator/Subject Convenor, a Subject lecturer or a Sessional Academic Staff.

Overall, survey participants indicated that:

  • A teaching academy would be very valuable for Charles Sturt and them as individuals
  • They would be interested in actively participating in this teaching academy
  • They were very interested in undertaking scholarly inquiry or research into learning and teaching

They also indicated that membership should be open to all Charles Sturt staff interested in learning and teaching, encourage active participation and provide the following opportunities:

  • recognition
  • career progression
  • professional and leadership development
  • developing best practice/improvements in teaching that have a direct
  • impact on the student experience
  • connecting and collaborating with colleagues across disciplines
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • cover all areas or aspects of learning and teaching

Staff identified some significant challenges in forming a teaching academy such as:

  • Time/associated workload with leading, organising or participating in a teaching academy
  • Teaching performance is currently undervalued at Charles Sturt
  • Need to create something new and not do what has been done in the past
  • It must complement and partner with other existing teaching and learning groups and not duplicate information or effort
  • It must be sustainable, with resources to fund staff positions now and in the future
  • Ensuring it has:
    • strong diversity with a good cross-section of staff from across the university, including minority groups, professional staff and sessional staff.
    • includes a research focus
    • open collaboration and opportunity
    • an impact, influencing teaching quality/practice, fostering creativity and innovation.
    • is evidence based.

September 2022: Teaching Academy Drop-In Sessions occurred in September.  These were 30-minute sessions where staff shared their ideas, thoughts and experiences.

September - November 2022: Approval via relevant governance committees with final approval by the Academic Senate. The Academy was endorsed by the Academic Senate in November.

December 2022: We will create a project plan which will include: scope, project schedule, risk management, resource management and communications in preparation for 2023.

First quarter 2023: We will implement our project plan, which will include (but not limited to):

  • establish an Academy Executive
  • make the required changes to policy and procedure
  • continue to socialise the framework across the University.

with the Academy established by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Teaching Academy Drop-In Session

We are hosting a series of 30-minute drop-in sessions to inform the development of the Charles Sturt Teaching Excellence Academy.

Teaching Academy Drop-In Sessions:

See What's New

Teaching Academy Drop-In Session recording:

Recorded session

Provide your feedback via our feedback form:

Feedback form

Further information

For further information about this strategic project, please email dltadmin@csu.edu.au