Publication Details

Gillett, M. & Bell, M. E. (1996). A Systematic Approach to Improving University Teaching. Improving University teaching (pp. 208-219). Nottingham: IUT.


Traditionally the Australian system of higher education has evaluated and rewarded universities on the basis of their research output. In recent years, however, there has been a Significant move to evaluate and acknowledge excellence in teaching. Consequently many institutions have established policies and programs for the improvement of teaching. Centres for staff development, graduate award courses and research programs for research on teaching and learning have appeared in universities across the country (Martin & Ramsden, 1994).

In this context several interesting developments have occurred at the University of Wollongong. First, several initiatives were designed to identify and reward good teaching. These include the creation of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, the use of teaching performance as a criterion for the annual review process and for tenure and promo~on decisions, and a compulsory program of student evaluations of teaching. Second, a new Centre for Research on Teaching and Learning was established. Third, the course Introduction. to Tertiary Teaching (ITT) was designed and offered to all academic and suitably qualified non-academic staff. This course is articulated into a set of "nested" courses offered by the Faculty of Education, including a Graduate Certificate of Higher Education and a Master of Education degree. Fourth, in 1994 a policy was implemented requiring all new academic staff to complete the ITT course within one year of appointment.