The Higher Education Standards Framework (2021) requires all staff with teaching and supervisory roles have “skills in contemporary teaching, learning and assessment principles relevant to the discipline, their role, modes of delivery and the needs of particular student cohorts.” Yet, following decades of initiatives to promote student learning, there is now reduced support for university teaching including cuts to sessional tutors, lecturers, and professional support staff.

Centres of teaching and learning that provided professional development for university teachers have largely been reduced to on-line course development.

Graduate certificates in higher education, once a standard offering in universities for their staff, now number 15 on the list of graduate certificates maintained by PostgradAustralia, and four of these are not listed on their own university’s website.

So how can regulatory requirements be satisfied in the absence of systemic national or university enhancement responses? Clearly, what university teaching and learning needs now is more support, particularly when there are increasing numbers of teaching-focused university positions that require demonstration of teaching excellence, leadership and scholarship for appointment, annual performance reviews, and promotion. How are university staff supposed to understand or meet these expectations without fit-for-purpose professional development?

Diminished support means that self-help resources may be needed to help individuals to develop their own capacity to teach in universities. The second edition of ‘University Teaching in Focus’ (2021), harvests the wisdom of academics with extensive teaching experience and expertise in academic development. It may be used as a self-help guide for new and established university teachers or as a textbook for postgraduate certificates in higher education. It explores effective classroom and online teaching and assessment, and it incorporates key issues of contemporary relevance such as: inclusive teaching; academic integrity and literacy; graduate employability; and Indigenous knowers and knowledge. It also encourages reflection about why you teach the way you teach and, with promotion and performance review in mind, it charts a clear path to building your career through teaching.


Lynne Hunt (Emeritus Professor Uni Southern Queensland) [email protected]

Denise Chalmers AM (Emeritus Professor UWA) [email protected]


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