Assuring sessional teaching quality through benchmarking with the BLASST national standards

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1 Assuring sessional teaching quality through benchmarking with the BLASST national standards Marina Harvey 10 th November, 2016 Melbourne Higher Education Compliance and Quality Forum #BLASST

2

3 Sess ion al Staff /sessional stæ f/ noun. Any teachers in higher education employed on a casual, shortterm contract, or sessional basis. This may include lecturers, tutors, unit, program and subject convenors, demonstrators, and markers (BLASST.edu.au) The majority of teaching in Australian universities is now provided by sessional staff (May et al. 2013) Relying on FTE calculations, sessional staff have grown by 81% (Larkins, 2011)

4 A pedagogical impact The significant reliance on academic staff employed under casual work contracts (2012, p. 25) has been identified as a risk to students by the Tertiary Education Quality Standard Agency (TEQSA).

5 Introducing the Sessional Staff Standards Framework This framework establishes standards, and criteria, by which we measure the quality of performance and outcomes in learning and teaching, in management and administrative policy, procedures and practices affecting sessional staff. blasst.edu.au

6 The standards and criteria are categorised by 3 principles that underpin the framework 1. Quality Learning and Teaching 2. Support for Sessional Staff 3. Sustainability

7 BLASST has a proven role in: Systematising good practice through its educative & benchmarking functions Rewarding good practice through internal & external recognition/awards Leading good practice nationally & increasingly internationally

8 Assuring sessional teaching quality with the BLASST standards 3 examples

9 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand (Gilbert, in press) Training provided for 500 tutors each year (mandated for first contract) Tutors surveyed biennially (since 2001) Tutor co-ordinators surveyed (since 2014) BLASST standards used to assess the tutor training provided. Action plans developed to move to a standard of good practice in areas where this not currently attained e.g. a new handbook for tutor co-ordinators

10 University of Queensland (Matthews, Duck & Bartle, in press) Programme provided for 750 tutors each year Sustained since 2010 Tutors surveyed (since 2011) Benchmarked against institutional level standards Good practice includes paid participation for tutors

11 University of Adelaide (Lekkas & Winning, in press) 160 sessional teachers, predominantly health professionals Quality improvement cycles to develop professional learning : Establishing formal support : Embedding support 2011-present : Towards sustainable support Benchmarking with BLASST standards action plans: pairing new and experienced sessional educators who have completed teacherfocussed professional development at induction activities/workshops; using sessional educator e-newsletter to promote L&T professional development; establish a sessional educator representative on the School L&T committee; and disseminate good practice approaches between co-ordinators.

12 International Journal for Academic Development Special Issue (2017) Quality learning and teaching with sessional/adjunct/casual teachers: Systematising good practice for academic development Examples 1, 2 and 3 are from this forthcoming issue

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14 Key references Special issue Volume 10, Issue 3 (2013) Setting the standard: Quality Learning and Teaching with Sessional Staff Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice Lekkas, D. & Winning, T. (2016) Sustainably supporting sessional staff involved in dental clinical placements by using quality enhancement processes. In Harvey, M. & Rowe, A. (Eds), WIL 2020: Pushing the boundaries Proceedings of the 2016 ACEN National Conference (pp. 174). Sydney, 29-30th September, 2016.

15 Dr Marina Harvey OLT National Teaching Fellow blasst.edu.au

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