A holistic, institution-wide approach to building sessional staff capacity

Hamilton, Jillian (2015) A holistic, institution-wide approach to building sessional staff capacity. In Harvey, Marina & Frederick, Vanessa (Eds.) Recognising and rewarding good learning and teaching practice with sessional staf, 10 April, 2015, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW.

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Sessional Academics enhance students’ learning experience by bringing a diverse range of perspectives and expertise into the classroom. As industry specialists, research students, and recent graduates who have excelled in their courses, they complement the discipline expertise of career academics. With increasing casualization of the academic workforce, Sessional Academics now deliver the majority of face-to-face undergraduate teaching in Australian Universities. To enable them to realize their full potential as effective contributors to student learning and course quality, universities need to offer effective training and access to advice and support and facilitate engagement in university life.

However, in the face of complex and diverse contexts, overwhelming numbers, and the transitory nature of sessional cohorts, few universities have developed a comprehensive, systematic approach. During the past three years at QUT, we have set out to develop a multifaceted approach to Sessional Academic support and development. In this paper I will explain why and how we have done so, and describe the range of strategies and programs we have developed. They include a central academic development program, which is structured and scaffolded with learning objectives and outcomes, and aligned with a graduate certificate in Academic Practice; a Sessional Academic Success program, which deploys experienced, school-based sessional academic success advisors to provide local support, build a sense of community, and offer discipline focused academic development; an online, dialogic communication strategy; and opportunities to present and be acknowledged for good learning and teaching practices. Together, these strategies have impacted on sessional academics’ confidence, learning and teaching capacity, reflection and engagement.

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ID Code: 88904
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Sessional staff, academic development, distributed leadership
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Current > Research Centres > Higher Education Research Network
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 the Author
Deposited On: 09 Oct 2015 00:47
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 00:47

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