Achieving Excellence in Teaching: A Case Study in Embedding Professional Development for Teaching within a Research-Intensive University

Achieving Excellence in Teaching: A Case Study in Embedding Professional Development for Teaching within a Research-Intensive University

Iain Doherty (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3661-3.ch017

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the challenges of achieving systemic change in the teaching culture of a research-intensive university. The chapter makes use of a teaching improvement case study to identify both the challenges and the solutions to engaging academics in a research-intensive university with educational professional development. Ongoing issues are identified and future research directions are presented.
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Background

EPD is arguably vitally important for educational institutions operating in a time of significant societal, market, technological, and pedagogical change. Ideally, ongoing EPD—along with, for example, regular curriculum renewal—would be standard practice for educators and a defining aspect of teaching and learning cultures. As a result, educational institutions might respond appropriately to the multiple forces that are impacting upon higher education. Teaching environments might then be regularly enhanced to the benefit of students. However, we know that at a macro level universities are complex places that operate in terms of multiple strategic priorities and multiple drivers. The most obvious of these is the tension between institutional research priorities and institutional teaching priorities. This tension is particularly acute when institutional reputations along with government funding are tied to the quantity and quality of discipline research outputs. We also know that at a micro level there are significant barriers to Faculty engagement with EPD including: lack of time to engage in EPD due to the competing demands of teaching, research and service; lack of incentive to spend time on teaching improvement; lack of reward for time so spent; the power of the research culture that results in academics focusing their efforts on discipline research rather than teaching; a failure on the part of management and EPD specialists to connect EPD with institutional strategic priorities; and a lack of resources and supports for teaching development and innovation as a result of inadequate EPD funding.

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