Plan for national quality control of HE teaching

There’s a proposal for a national HE teacher education system – the Universities Accord could make it happen.

It’s in a paper commissioned by the O’Kane Accord team from the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, with “input” from the Department of Education, released last Tuesday.

The headline proposal is a National Centre for Higher Education Advancement, rather like the lost and lamented Office of Learning and Teaching. Located, perhaps, in the all-but-announced Australian Tertiary Education Commission, it could:

  • “Develop and accredit quality professional development programmes,” particularly for new HE teachers;
  • Train and accredit assessors for “at-scale” formal peer reviews of teaching;
  • Establish a professional standards framework;
  • Pilot national accreditation of HE institutions’ peer review of teaching programs and certification of multi-institution PD programs;
  • Mandate minimum teaching qualifications entry level people; and
  • Define portable PD entitlement for sessionals.

And then there is one suggestion to make it happen; requiring all HE institutions to report to TEQSA on “implementation, uptake and effectiveness of their strategies and programs.”

Cost aside, it could happen in whole or part, under Accord cover.

Professor O’Kane and colleagues recommended (number 21) a comprehensive teaching quality framework, “with regular reporting … to improve transparency of provider performance,” better and new metrics “for measuring learning and teaching quality in higher education” and “more systematic use of peer review of teaching” to assist educators improve practise. And recommendation 31  calls for professional development, qualifications and standards for teaching staff.

In times past, such proposals would have had Vice-Chancellors hoisting the standard of autonomy and instructing the provost to convene a working party on building barricades.

Maybe they will if these Accord proposals are adopted, but more likely not.

Universities that will accept regulation of international enrolments are not likely to fight against national HE teaching standards.



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