Are the life cycles of Academic Development Centres leading anywhere?

Alderman, Lyn (2007) Are the life cycles of Academic Development Centres leading anywhere? [Working Paper]

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This paper will explore the purpose, services and place of Academic Development Centres within an Australian University, identify possible pathways for the future and offer the outcomes of this study as points of discussion at the AAIR conference. As identified within the conference theme “the changing Higher Education environment”, every University in Australia is aware that change is on the agenda. New government policies in higher education seem to keep ‘teaching and learning’ and ‘research’ firmly at the forefront of any discussion in the higher education tearooms.

But where does this leave the units or centres that provide fundamental support in a range of activities across each University in Australia. These support services offer students and staff support through libraries, learning centres, academic development centres and access pathways and may be located either centrally or within Faculties or Schools. However not all of these support services have the solid reputation of a library where it is possible to benchmark client services against other institutions and it is strongly supported by a well-recognised international body with agreed standards of practice.

In fact, one support service that has a mixed history is the Academic Development Centre. It is often subject to restructuring, decentralisation and re-establishment and yet the Centres offer fundamental support for teaching staff at Universities. Therefore in a time of change, when the pursuit of quality of teaching and learning is of great interest, there is an opportunity to review the place and importance of a support unit like an Academic Development Centre.

This study will identify the purpose and place of Academic Development Centres in Universities in Australia and consider possible future pathways for these Centres. This study will investigate through a number of research questions: (i) is there an ongoing need for Academic Development Centres in higher education in Australia? (ii) if yes, where can this lead?; or (iii) if no, what are the alternatives? These questions will be explored through four phases: review all positions advertised for academic staff in Australia over a one year period; analyse of essential criteria for employment in academic lecturer advertisements by one Australian University over a 6 month period; and identify the services offered by Academic Development Centres across Australia. This paper is written to encourage discussion and debate at the upcoming AAIR conference around the issue of Academic Development Centres.

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ID Code: 96930
Item Type: Working Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: learning and teaching, pedagogy, evaluation, higher education, leadership
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 14 Jul 2016 23:13
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2016 18:40

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