You can take a horse to water: Reflections on the effectiveness of a teaching development programme for research-focussed staff


  • Ian Paul Johnson Macquarie University
  • Lyn Collins Macquarie University


Learning and teaching, Professional development, Research-focused staff


PROBLEM This study assesses the impact of a seminar series aimed at developing teaching skills in research-focused staff initially identified as part of a professional development needs analysis. PLAN A 15- item electronic survey sought staff views on attitudes to teaching and needs for teaching development. A series of 11 lunch-time seminars was delivered to address these needs. At the end of the seminar series, staff were surveyed again to determine whether the identified needs had been met. ACTION The initial survey (19/81 responses) revealed a need for more teaching support (87%) and reward (66%) delivered as short lunchtime sessions (60%) and 46% were willing to devote 10-20h to this. Approximately 10% of staff attended the sessions. The post seminar survey (15/81 responses) revealed that 50% could not attend because of other commitments, but 73% wanted the sessions continued. 88% agreed that the sessions improved their learning and teaching confidence, with 75% preferring occasional learning and teaching support. REFLECTION Learning and teaching needs were identified and appropriate activities provided that met participants’ needs. However, uptake was poor. This likely reflects the need to incorporate additional data on active implementation drivers in the design of future programmes.

Author Biographies

Ian Paul Johnson, Macquarie University

Professor of Anatomy Department of Biomedical Sciences

Lyn Collins, Macquarie University

Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences