Guiding Philosophy


Good teaching is a vital contributor to student learning and success: Good teaching responds to its context; builds on students’ knowledge and experience; respects, actively engages and is accessible to and appropriate for the students enrolled; and helps them to develop their understanding of the discipline and their discipline-related skills and ways of thinking. Good teaching can inspire students and encourage them to develop and to pursue new aspirations.

Universities that place students at the centre of their work are characterised by a pedagogy of care, and are underpinned by a strong social justice agenda: Good understanding of their students’ needs and aspirations should lead universities to become welcoming and not alienating environments.

Work of an academic involves being a teacher and a researcher: These roles should not be in competition. Both are equally important and interdependent, and need to be developed, valued, rewarded and incentivised. Teaching must be research informed.

Good teaching is grounded in a deep understanding of a discipline
Good teaching is grounded in a deep understanding of a discipline: The basis of academics’ work is knowledge, with their identities embedded in discipline as knowledge learners, producers and disseminators. Fluid and hybrid, academic identity changes as work foci and values, and external influences, change; as a career progresses; and as academic disciplines evolve. Academics work across knowledge areas in different ways at different points in their careers.
Improving university teaching and learning must take into account the needs of academics at all levels, of teacher leaders and of professional support staff: The demands made on university teachers, and the social requirement that they must respond to change over time, underline the need for continuous professional development.

Professional development activities for university teachers and the professionals who support teaching development need to be available across the career continuum: A career-long learning approach to teaching development needs to be adopted.

Adequate resources are essential, the greatest barrier to good teaching is ideology

Adequate resources are essential, the greatest barrier to good teaching is ideology: Ideology antithetical to good teaching can manifest in a number of ways including mindsets and practices that do not value teaching as an intellectual activity; deficit views of students that regard them as passive recipients of knowledge from experts; and negative views of academics as incompetent teachers. Teaching development is as much about cultural change as it is about developing good pedagogical practices.

Teaching role is often more fully embodied in a team than in an individual: Teaching development activities should enable team, as well as individual, development. Collegiality and openness to peer review are important enablers of teaching.

Teaching can be advanced when the discipline and the people involved identify and address their own teaching development needs: Discipline- or subject-based communities of practice have an important role to play in strengthening university teachers and teaching.

Professional development cannot be imposed but must be undertaken by the person concerned

Professional development cannot be imposed but must be undertaken by the person concerned: University teachers have agency. When they take responsibility for their own development, real change is possible. Teaching development is more strongly enabled through reflection and collaborative interaction than by external prescription.

Recognition and reward system can contribute positively to teaching development: Such a system includes promotions and performance appraisal criteria that consider, and reward, teaching quality and that provide opportunities for professional development and access to resources.

Time needs to be allocated to professional development activities: These should be viewed as part of workloads.

Teaching development professionals need to be able to develop their own capacity and careers: Resources and opportunities must be made available for this.