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Rethinking teaching excellence in Australian higher education

Rethinking teaching excellence in Australian higher education The purpose of this paper is to explore: why the concept of teaching excellence has been uncritically accepted into the lexicon of university management; and how it has been used to co-opt university teaching staff into supporting the myth that teaching quality can be maintained as financial support for teaching has declined.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is conceptual and analytical rather than empirical and a critical management perspective is adopted.FindingsPer capita funding of university teaching has declined steadily. The concept of teaching excellence has been used to distract attention away from discussions about funding and the conditions required to promote good teaching in universities. The construction of teaching excellence as an attribute of individual teachers has co-opted university teachers into supporting the illusion that teaching quality can be maintained, despite falling organisational support and decreased funding.Research limitations/implicationsTeaching in universities can only be improved through changes to the management approach and maintenance of per capita funding, and ultimately democratisation of universities. This will require changes to the regulatory framework, and national policy.Practical implicationsThe author concludes that teaching excellence is unhelpful as a concept. Instead the focus of discussion needs to return to ensuring that the necessary conditions for responsive teaching are in place.Social implicationsDemocratise the workplace and management methods; adopt matrix management structures; Rebalance to focus on social benefit and public good.Originality/valueThis paper uncovers tensions, contradictions and missing elements in current policy and concludes with suggestions for change. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Comparative Education and Development Emerald Publishing

Rethinking teaching excellence in Australian higher education

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References (75)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2396-7404
DOI
10.1108/ijced-10-2018-0038
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore: why the concept of teaching excellence has been uncritically accepted into the lexicon of university management; and how it has been used to co-opt university teaching staff into supporting the myth that teaching quality can be maintained as financial support for teaching has declined.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is conceptual and analytical rather than empirical and a critical management perspective is adopted.FindingsPer capita funding of university teaching has declined steadily. The concept of teaching excellence has been used to distract attention away from discussions about funding and the conditions required to promote good teaching in universities. The construction of teaching excellence as an attribute of individual teachers has co-opted university teachers into supporting the illusion that teaching quality can be maintained, despite falling organisational support and decreased funding.Research limitations/implicationsTeaching in universities can only be improved through changes to the management approach and maintenance of per capita funding, and ultimately democratisation of universities. This will require changes to the regulatory framework, and national policy.Practical implicationsThe author concludes that teaching excellence is unhelpful as a concept. Instead the focus of discussion needs to return to ensuring that the necessary conditions for responsive teaching are in place.Social implicationsDemocratise the workplace and management methods; adopt matrix management structures; Rebalance to focus on social benefit and public good.Originality/valueThis paper uncovers tensions, contradictions and missing elements in current policy and concludes with suggestions for change.

Journal

International Journal of Comparative Education and DevelopmentEmerald Publishing

Published: May 3, 2019

Keywords: Management; Policy; University; Australia; Critical management; Teaching excellence

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