Tutor engagement: towards an inclusive culture for sessional teaching staff



Publication Details

Percy, A. & Beaumont, R. (2007) Tutor engagement: towards an inclusive culture for sessional teaching staff. Paper presented at HERDSA Conference, Adelaide, July 9-11, 2007.


The importance of sessional teaching staff - their professionalism and expertise - cannot be underestimated in the neo-liberal university where casualisation of teaching has become an embedded feature of higher education workplace relations . The issue of casualisation, however, is not simply a problem of expertise that can be overcome through formal training and greater surveillance of the individual. Casualisation as it pertains to the quality of the student experience is a systemic issue that must be recognised, owned and addressed within the faculty, school and teaching team. This paper reports on a project at one regional University that is attempting to facilitate a systemic and cultural change in the management, support and recognition of sessional staff. Using a 'community of practice' framework and the notion of ‘tutor engagement’ as a basis for evaluating faculty policy and practice, the project is most concerned with how micro-practices at the teaching team level can be understood as powerful vehicles for professional development. This approach is based firmly in the notion of workplace learning that transcends traditional approaches to professional development as constituting formal workshops and programs, and recognises work is learning, and that ‘learning’ needs to be authentic, situated and engaging - one that acknowledges the importance of ‘community’ as a place of meaningful informal learning that reinforces professional identity and contributes to individual and cultural transformation. The paper identifies issues, strategies and dilemmas for educational developers and faculty engaging in this process.


130103 Higher Education, 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators

Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.