From the inside out – Sticking points and initiative to mobilizing education academics in science


  • Louise J Kuchel The University of Queensland


Education focused academics, SoTL, academic roles


When I applied for my job as an education focused academic at a research-intensive university I was told that my role was to lead change in teaching. I was coming from a background in biology research, with strong interests in teaching. When I began I was soon inundated with tasks of creating new teaching materials for new courses. Not knowing how of what to disseminate. Not knowing how to articulate achievements and impact. Not knowing how to do SoTL. Twelve years on, I am making some good headway in leading change locally, nationally and internationally, and starting to be rewarded and recognized for it. But the road to get there need not have been so hard, nor have taken so long. There are around 300 education/teaching focused academics at UQ following implementation of this academic role in 2007. The recent Athena Swan equity project reports that the vast majority of these academics are at level B and female. This highlights slow progress in promotion, complicated by both the unfamiliarity and recognition of achievements by teaching focused academics (tsang, 2010; Hubbard, Gretton, Jones, & Tallents, 2015) and the well-known challenges and slow progress of women in academia (Jones, Warnick, & Palmer, 2016). In this poster I present a number of initiatives and sticking points which I think would contribute significantly to empowering teaching focused academics, increase recognition of the influence they have, and improve the speed of their career progress. These include: - Broadening the concept of SoTL for academics new to SoTL - Empowering education focused academics as local change agents, recognized and included by organizational structures at all levels of the university. - A depository of examples of how to articulate and evidence impacts of their work - ACDS T&L centre could act as a centre to showcase career roles and impactful activities

Author Biography

Louise J Kuchel, The University of Queensland

Louise Kuchel lectures in biology at the University of Queensland, Australia, and researches ways to improve teaching and learning biology in higher education. She has a special interest in communication skills and employability. Louise is co-creator of the online student resource for communication called CLiPS ( which is used by students and educators in over 75 countries. She has published several peer-reviewed articles on the current status of communication skills in science, as well as recommendations for best practice in teaching and assessing communication in science programs.