OPINION: Cassandra Hood – Lecturer in Higher Education – CILT
University teacher preparation programmes as a quality enhancement mechanism: evaluating impact beyond individual teachers’ practice
Our recent article presents an analysis of the impact of the Flinders Foundations of University Teaching (FFOUT) programme, adding to the body of evidence on the efficacy of university teaching preparation programmes (TPPs). The results reinforce other research indicating that such programmes do have beneficial effects on individual academics and that those benefits also extend to work groups and have value to the institution.
We observed that the transfer of learning by academics to practice takes time and is mediated by many factors. Nevertheless, where it was seen that institutional and local departmental cultures value teaching, TPPs such as FFOUT, provide a useful strategy for quality enhancement in higher education.
Of particular note was that a critical mass of past FFOUT participants in a workgroup positively influences both attitude to teaching and practice. FFOUT participation allowed respondents to contribute to existing conversations around teaching as well as to initiate them, in settings where teaching is valued. Unsurprisingly, local cultural factors and practices, as well as academic leadership impacts how teaching is viewed and supported. Beyond influence on individuals’ practice, TPP participation adds to that critical mass who appreciate and work toward improving teaching.
Given the impact of academic leadership on departmental culture, it will be interesting to see how the current restructure impacts on the culture of learning and teaching within various workgroups. With many educational leadership positions remaining to be filled, and some learning and teaching committees adjourned or suspended as a result, we can only hope that those staff committed to teaching can ride the transition wave.
Full article can be found:
University teacher preparation programmes as a quality enhancement mechanism: evaluating impact beyond individual teachers’ practice │ Quality in Higher Education (2017)
By Don Houston and Cassandra Hood