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QUT is creating paths to global recognition for its staff who teach and support learning as part of a key strategy of promoting high-quality teaching.
The QUT Academy of Learning and Teaching hit an important milestone today with more than 250 QUT academic and professional staff attaining fellowships through the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA).
QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) Professor Suzi Derbyshire said by facilitating international recognition of staff through HEA Fellowships, QUT demonstrated its commitment to staff, to quality learning and teaching outcomes and to students’ learning experiences.
“The UK HEA fellowships enable our staff to become more self-aware, thoughtful and engaging practitioners,” Professor Derbyshire said.
Biological scientist and research veterinarian Dr Melody de Laat is the 250th QUT staffer to be recognised as an HEA Fellow.
Dr de Laat said her desire to attain the title stemmed from a need to ensure she provided the best possible experience for her biology students.
“To be an effective educator in the sciences a knowledge of one’s discipline needs to be paired with an understanding of effective teaching practice,” she said.
“I believe that this is the best way to ignite a passion for science, in my case animal health, and biology in our students.”
Head of QUT’s Academy of Learning and Teaching and Principal Fellow of the HEA, Professor Abby Cathcart, said the fellowship process involved “rigorous testing” of candidates to meet the UK Professional Standards Framework, a benchmark used to evidence effective teaching and learning support practices and to enhance employability among higher education staff.
“The fact that 250 of our staff have achieved international recognition is testament to the high-quality teaching, innovative practice, and deep concern for students’ learning at QUT,” Professor Cathcart said.
“Whether they are research-intensive professors, sessional tutors or professional staff with responsibility for learning support, the fellowship evidences a strong focus on teaching quality.”
HEA chief executive, Professor Stephanie Marshall, said she was delighted QUT had reached this milestone.
“This a fantastic achievement by QUT and all the staff involved as fellowship reflects a real commitment and passion for teaching,” Professor Marshall said.
“Great teachers need the buy-in and support of the people who lead and set the direction of the university, and by any measure, this is a great success story and sends an unequivocally positive message about the status of teaching at QUT.”
More than 80,000 people have become fellows of the HEA across 25 countries and QUT is one of four Australian institutions accredited by the organisation.
Professor Cathcart, from QUT Business School, said pathways to fellowship were deeply inclusive and gave staff options whether they were early-career academics, PhD students, professional staff in a learning support role or experienced academics.
She said among the newly-named fellows at QUT were 12 Principal Fellows, which represented the highest category of fellowship for sustained strategic leadership in learning and teaching worldwide.
As co-leader of QUT’s Teaching Advantage Program, Professor Cathcart will share the benefits of HEA fellowship with colleagues in China when she mentors 30 academics in Beijing as they develop their fellowship applications.
“We are very excited about offering the award-winning Teaching Advantage Program internationally in 2017,” she said.
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Dr Melody de Laat