ACDS Fellowship: Distributed leadership to embed scholarship in STEM teaching teams


  • Tina Acuna University of Tasmania Hobart Tasmania
  • Jo-Anne Kelder University of Tasmania Hobart Tasmania


SoTL, curriculum evaluation and research


In Australia, the Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF) minimum requirements include continuous evaluation that informs ongoing curriculum transformation: five threshold standards refer explicitly to scholarship. Significantly, TEQSA in December 2018 released the Guidance Note: Scholarship that states: ‘The intent of the Standards is that scholarship that is claimed to inform teaching (or supervision) must have a demonstrable relevance to the course being taught, including scholarship relating to the process of teaching and learning in itself.’ Changes to national Learning and Teaching awards and grants suggests a signal that scholarship is in practice an undervalued and largely invisible activity that may be neglected altogether by academics and management. In STEM, prioritisation of disciplinary research and lack of capacity/expertise in research approaches more common to the humanities and education are substantial barriers to scholarship in learning and teaching. Considering the TEQSA guidance note, it is essential to identify mechanisms to engage and reward academics to engage in scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The HESF focus on degree-level curriculum implies the whole team of academics involved in designing and teaching degree curriculum need to be engaged in SoTL; not just specialist teachers. Our Fellowship will conceptualise leadership for active engagement in scholarship within teaching teams. It includes a Curriculum Evaluation Research (CER) framework (Kelder and Carr, 2017), which we have contextualised to the STEM discipline, which is designed to incorporate planning for SoTL into the practices of routine evidence collection that is response to institutional requirements for quality assurance of a body of curriculum and informed by national standards. The goal is to provide staff a practical and efficient method for ensuring coordinated quality activities related to a course that enable individual and collective outputs related to quality improvement, quality assurance and scholarship. Participants will be introduced to: 1. a way of thinking about the teaching component of academic work that is oriented to evidence-based quality enhancement 2. a framework for embedding evaluation and research into teaching practice, curriculum design and delivery at the level of a unit of study (subject) and course (award degree) curriculum that is aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework and institutional performance expectations. 3. practical resources for data collection a. ‘generic’ ethics application; b. method for using the university Learning Management System (LMS) to routinely collect student and peer review data and; c. a mechanism for establishing consent. The workshop is relevant for teaching staff and/or teaching teams, course and unit coordinators, Deans and Directors of Learning and Teaching who are interested in establishing a sustainable and effective approach to educational evaluation and scholarship as part of their teaching practice. Associate Professor Tina Acuna and Dr Jo-Anne Kelder are the joint holders of the ACDS Fellowship for 2019. Tina is the Associate Dean Learning and Teaching in the College of Sciences and Engineering at UTAS. She led the national OLT funded AgLTAS project from 2013-15. Jo is Senior Lecturer in Curriculum Development and Innovation in the Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching at UTAS. She led the OLT funded PATS extension grant and was a co-investigator in the AgLTAS project.

Author Biographies

Tina Acuna, University of Tasmania Hobart Tasmania

College of Sciences and Engineering

Jo-Anne Kelder, University of Tasmania Hobart Tasmania

College of Sciences and Engineering