New initiative a recipe for success
This year the Faculty of Business and Law launched a Teaching Development Program (TDP) that seeks to share and embed good teaching and learning practices across the Faculty.
The TDP aims to build collegial relationships amongst staff and ensures that mentoring is applied systematically across the Faculty. While many relationships are works-in-process, it's definitely so far so good for this innovative approach to sharing good practice.
Sharing experiences and lots of coffee
In Trimester 1 2012 Dr Feng (Karen) Tian , coming off a hectic 2011, becoming a new mum and being awarded her PhD, asked to work with one of the Faculty's designated teaching leaders to further develop her teaching and course design. Karen teamed-up with Dr Brendan Boyle , a recipient of discipline-level, faculty-level, university-level and national-level (ALTC) teaching awards and citations. Working closely together Karen and Brendan shared their experiences of teaching in their discipline of International Business, shared resources, and many many cups of coffee over a three-month period.
Success beyond measure!
Together they made improvements to teaching resources and course content and this saw Karen's Student Feedback on Courses (SFC) score increase across all 14 surveyed items. The improvements took her well above the University's and Business School's average on every measure. It also saw an increase in overall student satisfaction by more than 20%.
Karen said the TDP benefits those who are interested in better understanding the teaching and learning practices of successful colleagues.
“The TDP is not a course. It's not something you have to do. It's not too formal, but it's recognised in the Faculty as an additional effort and as a commitment to improvement. So, I decided to use the program to find out what has worked well for colleagues in the past and develop myself.”
Brendan agrees and went on to say that while the TDP is guided by best-practice principles shared by staff working on the program, it's not prescriptive.
“It creates an informal, yet still structured, developmental context in the Faculty so that people can work together before, during and after a teaching period. The number one goal is to share good practices; it's not just about SFC scores, although improvement in the numbers are always icing on the cake.”
Both Karen and Brendan agree that the long-term benefit of embedding good practice through collaboration is the greatest value of the TDP.
“The TDP is a staff friendly approach to improving teaching in the Faculty and beyond improvement in just one course. Collaboration of this kind has many valuable spin-offs, even a new research project we're working on!” said Brendan.