Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Navigating the implementation of quality teaching standards and criteria in Australian universities (#63)

Rick Cummings 1 , Denise Chalmers 2 , Beatrice Tucker 3 , Sue Stoney 4 , Sofia Elliot 5 , Rachel Wicking 2 , Trina Jorre de St Jorre 2 , Gavin Sanderson 6
  1. Murdoch University , Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  2. The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
  3. Curtin University, Bentley , Western Australia, Australia
  4. Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia
  5. The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
  6. UniSA, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Abstract Content 

The Australian University Teaching Criteria and Standards framework has been developed through extensive review of the literature and current practices in Australian universities and consultation across the higher education sector. The framework has been widely disseminated at events across Australia and trialled in the five Western Australian partner universities involved in the project. The framework was well received and numerous universities expressed interest in using the framework to facilitate the embedding of teaching criteria and standards into their own institutional processes. In response to this interest, the project team, with support through an extension grant from the Office for Learning and Teaching, designed an implementation program to work with institutions across Australia to navigate the process of developing and embedding their own teaching criteria and standards into processes such as recruitment, probation, staff review/development and promotion.

Through a series of two workshops and ongoing communication, 21 participating universities were supported in discussing and adapting the framework to their own context, existing policy and culture. Participating universities were invited to share their experience and lessons learnt through the development of case studies and recommendations that are available on the project website ( We will showcase some of the diverse ways in which different universities have used the framework to support, develop, promote and embed quality teaching criteria and standards, and discuss the lessons learnt and key factors for successful implementation based on the experiences of the project team and participating universities.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference 

This showcase will share implementation experiences and lessons learnt to assist institutions across Australia to navigate the process of developing and embedding their own teaching criteria and standards into institutional processes. The AUTCAS framework was developed in response to significant changes in the Australian higher education environment which includes an increasingly diverse student and staff population, a new regulatory and accreditation framework and the growing imperative to demonstrate quality in teaching in the international marketplace. The framework supports diversity through allowing teachers to build evidence of their impact in an increasingly complex work environment, including increasing diversity of staff roles from traditional research-teaching academics to teaching focussed roles of both academic and professional staff. It has been well received as a timely catalyst for change and discussion within the higher education sector and the universities that participated in the project extension are representative of different types of universities in the Australian higher education sector - Go8, ATN, IRU, multi-campus unaligned, dual sector and private. These institutions have utilised the framework in a vastly different ways, showing the flexibility of the framework as a tool for addressing the different needs of tertiary institutions.