Tuesday, 20 November 2018

It has been an exciting year in Education as we have worked towards defining Vision 2030, and laying the foundations for the Education Strategy to 2025. I thank everyone that has contributed ideas to these processes, which are stronger as a result. From the feedback I have received, there is a growing consensus that the direction is truly exciting and opens up opportunities for our students and staff and positions UWA even better as one of the world’s foremost research-intensive Universities.

In this edition of Education Quarterly, we focus on the contribution to that direction through our teaching. This is appropriate given the fantastic reception to the idea of an annual Teaching Conference. We held our first one earlier this month and this was a massive success. We had over 180 academic and professional staff attend and I witnessed many conversations across disciplinary boundaries. On the first day, the Conference heard inspiring keynotes from colleagues from University College London (UCL); Monash and Tasmania. These talks ranged from flipped classroom teaching; communities of practice (CoPs) and the value of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) for recognition of excellent teaching in research-intensive Universities. The launch of the UWA Community of Practice initiative, which supports cross-disciplinary grass-roots defined innovations, exceeded all of our expectations and we have willingly doubled the seed funding to support the many ideas coming forward. Many of the conversations in the sessions and in the tea breaks, laid the ground for these grass-roots ideas. Earlier, we launched the UWA Flipped Classroom Discussion Paper and we will be seeking accreditation for UWA with AdvanceHE with regard to the PSF in 2019.

The Conference also celebrated the excellent work of UWA teachers through the presentation of initiatives submitted by Schools and Faculties as part of the Teaching Showcase initiative and the poster session that supported this was a lively place for conversations.  I would like to personally extend my congratulations and thanks to those teachers that had their innovative and outstanding work featured as part of the 2018 Teaching Showcase. The first day culminated with the 2018 UWA Teaching Awards Ceremony. I invite the University community to join me in recognising the outstanding achievements of our UWA Teaching Excellence Award winners, and those nominated to put forward applications to the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT). Although the funding levels have been reduced, it is a welcome development to see that the AAUT scheme has been retained for the sector.

The second day of the Conference saw a series of participatory workshops. These were so popular we had to run double sessions and many staff attended who hadn’t been able to make the first day. I have had very complimentary messages from the colleagues at UCL, Tasmania and Monash regarding the deep levels of engagement they witnessed here at UWA. With this deep and wide engagement, we stand poised to really explore the opportunities that the new Vision 2030 and the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan will offer.

In this issue of Education Quarterly, articles explore the themes of the Conference in more depth. Dr Rosalind Duhs outlines the pathways to Fellowships that will be available to UWA teachers under the PSF AdvanceHE Fellowship Scheme, and shares some insights from University College London. We also find out more about two of our award recipients and nominees for the 2018 Australian University Teaching Awards: we find out how the Fit for Study programme helps students to be physically, emotionally and psychologically prepared for university learnings, and we talk to Dr Peter Merrotsy about building communities of enquiry in his classroom while he ‘teaches how to teach mathematics’. We also make available resources from the conference and interviews with some of our guest speakers.

Finally, I would like to thank all UWA teachers for their hard work and dedication in 2018.  I look forward to the opportunities that 2019 will bring, and to working alongside you to continue providing teaching and learning experiences of the highest quality to our remarkable student body.


Education Quarterly