In this commentary I provide an overview of the national award program, the Australian Awards for University Teachers (AAUT), that has been running for 23 years. I argue that the benefits of the awards are widespread in higher education. They recognise and reward creativity and innovation, they have helped build a culture of collaboration and mentoring that extends across universities and states, and most of all they validate the importance of good quality teaching in universities, providing a recognition and promotion pathway to match that of research awards. The current federal government has made the decision not to fund the awards after 2021, a decision I believe is not only short-sighted but could be damaging for Australia in the global education market. I propose three possible options to continue support for this valuable award program and encourage senior academics and past award winners to work as a group and pursue replacement funding and a sustainable management model for this program. The AAUT awards have an integral role in promoting creativity and innovation in teaching and learning, as well as opening promotion pathways and collaborations across and between universities, and across and between disciplines.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Maintaining the profile of teaching within the Australian higher education sector
  2. Rewards and recognition of university teaching through AAUT promotes creativity and innovation
  3. Enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in universities
  4. Direct and indirect impacts on the career advancement for individual award winners
  5. Promotions and opportunities to support teaching awards