Transforming institutional initiatives to a community of scholarly practice through the Teaching and Learning Academy

Sealey, Rebecca (2015) Transforming institutional initiatives to a community of scholarly practice through the Teaching and Learning Academy. In: Abstracts from the 12th Anuual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. p. 87. From: ISSOTL 2015: 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 27-30 October 2015, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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In 2011, James Cook University established the Teaching and Learning Academy as a joint initiative of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and the Teaching and Learning Development Unit (TLD). The Academy was created to align with the Vice Chancellor's priority for a scholarly community, to have a strategic focus on the promotion of teaching and learning leadership, and to support and recognise staff development efforts related to teaching and learning. Terms of reference were developed with the clear expectation that the Academy would function as communities of practice, identified as Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The Academy membership (currently 165 members) consists of academic and professional staff members who either have a significant teaching and learning leadership position or have a track record in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Members form (and lead) the SIGs in response to institutional priorities. Past SIGs such as the Mentoring and Peer Review groups have been key drivers for the institution-wide implementation and uptake of peer support programs. The current SIGs are: assessment, first year experience, English language and numeracy proficiency, learning spaces and blended learning, and work integrated learning.

The major annual initiatives of the Teaching and Learning Academy include: Learning and Teaching Week, SIG events, Fellowships and conference funding grants. The annual Learning and Teaching week is a significant event that has high staff attendance and engagement, providing a large-scale platform for the dissemination of innovative, evidence-based and effective learning and teaching practice across the wider institution. Activities include invited speaker sessions, interactive professional development workshops, vendor presentations, showcases of innovative practice by SIGs and individual JCU staff members, and the award ceremony for citations and Fellowships. Throughout the year, the SIGs run regular sharing sessions, showcases and writing retreats, as well as develop resources and best-practice exemplars that are disseminated to the University community via events and the Academy website. Since 2012, eight Fellowships and twenty-three conference grants have been awarded to Academy members. These fellowships provided seed funding for capacity building leading to future large-scale priority teaching and learning projects, or expanded on priority teaching and learning projects. The Fellowship scheme has resulted in journal article publications and conference presentations, and success with Office for Teaching and Learning (OLT) priority funding. The conference grants provided financial support for members to disseminate their learning and teaching practice both nationally and internationally. The overall success of the JCU Teaching and Learning Academy is driven by three key factors, which are recommended for adoption when transferring the success of this initiative to other institutions: 1) the Academy is a members-led community of practice; 2) the Academy works collaboratively with the TLD Unit and the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic); and 3) the activities are clearly aligned with both institutional and national priorities. There is overwhelming evidence that the Academy has transformed the initial strategic initiative into embedded activity within the institution and provides significant contribution to the leadership and support of scholarly learning and teaching practice.

Item ID: 40228
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
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Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2015 03:01
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development @ 100%
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