Navigating pathways for academic staff development : implications for institutions and academic ranks

Boles, Wageeh & Goncher, Andrea (2014) Navigating pathways for academic staff development : implications for institutions and academic ranks. In Proceedings of the 2014 Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE2014), Wellington, New Zealand.


BACKGROUND As engineering schools adopt outcomes - focused learning approaches in response to government expectations and industry requirements of graduates capable of learning and applying knowledge in different contexts, university academics must be capable of developing and delivering programs that meet these requirements. Those academics are increasingly facing challenges in progressing their research and also acquiring different skill sets to meet the learning and teaching requirements.

PURPOSE The goal of this study was to identify the types of development and support structures in place for academic staff, especially early career ones, and examine how the type of institution and the rank or role of the staff member affects these structures.

DESIGN/METHOD We conducted semi - structured interviews with 21 individuals in a range of positions pertaining to teaching and learning in engineering education. Open coding was used to identify main themes from the guiding questions raised in the interviews and refined to address themes relevant to the development of institutional staff . The interview data was then analysed based on the type of institution and the rank/ role of the participant.

RESULTS While development programs that focus on improving teaching and learning are available, the approach on using these types of programs differed based on staff perspective. Fewer academics, regardless of rank/role, had knowledge of support structures related to other areas of scholarship, e.g. disciplinary research, educational research, learning the institutional culture. The type of institution also impacted how they weighted and encouraged multiple forms of scholarship. We found that academic staff holding higher ranking positions, e.g. dean or associate dean, were not only concerned with the success of their respective programs, but also in how to promote other academic staff participation throughout the process.

CONCLUSIONS The findings from this stud y extend the premise that developing effective academic staff ultimately leads to more effective institutions and successful graduates and accomplishing this requires staff buy - in at multiple stages of instructional and program development. Staff and administration developing approaches for educational innovation together (Besterfield - Sacre et al., 2014) and getting buy - in from all academic staff to invest in engineering education development will ultimately lead to more successful engineering graduates.

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ID Code: 79507
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Engineering academic staff development, early-career academics, institutional factors, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > OTHER ENGINEERING (099900)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [Please consult the Authors]
Deposited On: 16 Dec 2014 03:34
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2015 01:54

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