Every university strives to develop and retain a fit-for purpose academic workforce with a resilient and teaching culture that nurtures innovation. But, how is this achieved in the current circumstances of financial constraint, when both students and staff have been learning and working remotely under challenging conditions and there is a very real potential for teaching excellence to be overlooked?

At Western Sydney U, forging a genuine partnership with students, employers and staff, and creating a national reputation for collaboration and engagement, is a vision that has been promoted during the pandemic. The launch of the Badugulang, a Darug word meaning “waterhole”, Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), aims to accelerate the capability of our institution to deliver transformative curriculum and provide recognition of staff contributions to teaching excellence.

The Centre brings together aspiring teaching leaders, curriculum partners, academic and professional staff who have demonstrated teaching excellence. It supports a culture where knowledge is shared to empower confident, critical and expert teachers, and disseminated across the sector. The distributed leadership, drawn from the Fellowship group, will undertake activities and access expertise that builds capability to design and deliver engaging contemporary HyFlex curricula. As the Centre matures, employers, community and government partners will be invited to join.

Membership will be for a fixed term and active contribution to transforming the culture of teaching excellence is required to maintain membership. Badugulang will provide members with opportunities and initiatives to lead on a range of empowering activities thus forming and supporting collaboration both within the institution and with similar centres nationally and internationally. Examples include: staff reward and recognition; dissemination of scholarship; support for career progression; use of data; and T&L excellence quality indicators.

Badugulang can encourage, support and shine a spotlight on teaching excellence. This is something we should all engage with as we deal with the end, or the beginning of the end, of a challenging pandemic.

Professor Simon Bedford, Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning Futures, Western Sydney University [email protected] @chssbb 

Western Sydney University is a member of CAULLT (Council of Australasian University Leaders in Learning and Teaching)


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