This policy sets out the principles that underpin ACU’s approach to achieving excellence in teaching practice to support quality learning. It seeks to ensure that teaching practice at ACU engages with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and that all ACU teaching, curricula and the learning provided for students give expression to the principles of Catholic Social Thought.
Learning and teaching activities are a core part of the University's academic portfolio.
Practices that enable excellence in teaching include:
- Design, development and review of engaging, relevant, aligned curricula at the unit and course level;
- Evidence-based teaching techniques and strategies that support quality student learning;
- Effective application of technology and other resources to facilitate and enhance learning and teaching activities.
2.1 This policy applies to:
- all courses delivered by ACU, including professional experience units, off-shore units and those coursework units completed as part of an honours or research degree;
- academic and/or professional staff with responsibility for designing, administering or making decisions related to learning and teaching at all levels of the University.
2.2 The principles outlined in this policy establish the institutional positions for reaching the goal of excellence in teaching practice. The specific means of achieving the expected outcomes are through the effective implementation of the complete set of policies, procedures and guidelines that govern learning and teaching at ACU.
Engagement: Engagement encompasses the attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that is ideally nurtured and exhibited by staff and students throughout their work and study. Engagement is also about breaking down barriers to achieve greater social inclusion and collaboration, and forging constructive relationships (student/teacher and student peer relationships) for positive learning and teaching outcomes.
Other terms used in this policy are consistent with the Glossary of Terms.1
The principles of learning and teaching, with the goal of providing quality student learning experiences in ACU courses, are follows:
- an engaging learning experience;
- scholarship and research;
- diverse communities and inclusive learning environments and curricula;
- enriched learning and teaching, co-curricular support, and technology-enhanced learning;
- knowledge, skills and personal values developed through active learning and real world experiences;
- and develops critical reflection and continuous improvement;
- consistent, comparable and equitable in curricula delivery across the national University.
The key components of each principle are listed below to clarify the intent of the principle.
- The University recognises that the effectiveness of learning and teaching is dependent on shared commitment, action and partnership between teachers and students. Therefore, ACU encourages student and staff engagement in learning and teaching through intellectual stimulation, collaboration, social interaction and dialogue.
- Teaching staff and students are empowered to engage in learning and teaching practices that are innovative, critical, well informed, and meet professional accreditation requirements.
- Teaching staff know and use a variety of appropriate and effective learning and teaching approaches and strategies, and are aware of pedagogical advances. They engage students by using material that is current, relevant, accurate and appropriate to the approved course of study.
- The University fosters the use of research to develop students’ understanding of evolving knowledge in their discipline and of areas of authentic enquiry. It has mandated the scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT) as part of the workload of all staff with responsibility for teaching. ACU provides opportunities for professional development in SoLT.
- Academic recruitment and teacher professional development will take the teaching‑research nexus2 into account.
- The University embraces and respects its diverse community cohorts and strives to develop learning environments and curricula that are inclusive of differences in gender and orientation, culture, ethnicity, capabilities and social and economic background. Teaching staff will promote the intellectual and professional development of each student.
- The ACU community treats all members with respect, dignity and professional courtesy, and recognises and values the range of backgrounds and abilities of students and staff.
- Staff and students respect each other’s right to hold particular and different points of view, while seeking to challenge them to be aware of and evaluate alternative theoretical perspectives, values and opinions. Sensitive topics are dealt with in ways that respect student views and feelings.
- Indigenous Knowings are embedded in curricula and represented in teaching practices.
- Curricula is situated in the international learning and teaching theory and practice landscape and global perspectives are represented.
- The University supports students and staff access to co-curricular programs and support services. These services assist students to successfully undertake their course of study by optimising student learning and engagement.
- The responsibility for educational quality and student success at all stages of the student life cycle is shared by both teaching and professional staff.
- The University enriches student learning and academic teaching through the use of technology to enhance learning.
- The University provides the ACU community with leadership and support for technology-enhanced learning through professional development and models of good practice in unit design and delivery. It ensures access to educational technology, in particular the learning management system, through effective management and continuous improvement.
- The University supports the discovery of knowledge and skills through active learning and embeds ‘real-world’ experiential learning and teaching in curriculum and professional practice.
- The University develops curricula and provides transformative learning opportunities for students through action in and reflection on real situations of disadvantage and injustice, in light of its Catholic identity, ethos and Mission. In particular, the curricula and learning opportunities for students give expression to the principles of Catholic Social Thought.
- The University provides students with appropriate opportunities for work-integrated learning and industry placements to develop distinctive, career-ready graduates.
- The University values teaching approaches that enable students to be active participants in the learning process, prompting the integration, critique, and application of knowledge.
- The University seeks to nurture a culture of critical reflection and continuous improvement for quality personal, professional and institutional outcomes, through consultation, evaluation, research and collaboration. Both staff and students are encouraged to reflect on past performance and plan for individual development.
- The University ensures that course and unit documentation, learning experiences and resources are systematically developed and used to support quality learning and teaching practice.
- Learning and teaching processes and outcomes are monitored and evaluated to maintain the focus on excellence, relevance and quality.
- Teaching staff appreciate the value of Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching (SELT) and use the feedback to improve curriculum, learning and teaching.
- Teaching staff engage in critical reflexive practice and develop activities and assessment tasks which assist students toward deeper learning.
- Students engage in a responsible manner in the review and evaluation processes that are conducted periodically in the University.
- As a national University operating across a number of States and jurisdictions, ACU understands the importance of consistent, comparable and equitable curriculum delivery, particularly in relation to the learning experience of the student.
Page last updated: 2017-10-24
Short url: https://handbook.acu.edu.au/966542