Policy issues

AUT University’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2016 has five key themes:

  1. Learning and teaching – increasing student success rates for all groups of students at all levels of study
  2. Research and scholarship – advancing knowledge and stimulating learning
  3. Staff – being a workplace that is great for all staff by supporting achievement, involvement and development
  4. Engagement with communities – Business, industry, professions and employers through knowledge exchange, staff opportunities and research and development
  5. Continuous development and capacity building – contributing to environmental sustainability through research, innovation and the practices and operations as a large organisation

AUT is a university for the changing world, an increasingly powerful force for learning and discovery. A contemporary, connected and relevant study destination, it has differentiated itself through its commitment to widening university access and participation, and its engagement with business, industry and communities.

The 2012-2016 strategic plan is available at: https://www.aut.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/263139/AUT_Strategic_Plan_2012-16_FINAL.PDF

There is significant overlap between the AUT University strategic plan and the NZ Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-2019 – as would be expected.

From my role and perspective as an academic advisor working across the different University faculties there are two key policy areas that overlap that I can have significant impact on achieving – (1) and (2): I believe that combining (1) Learning and teaching with (2) Research and scholarship is one way to enhance both areas. I do this through embedding and promoting the Scholarship Of Teaching and Learning or SOTL (Cochrane, 2014; Cochrane & Antonczak, 2015; Cochrane & Narayan, 2016), with a particular focus upon the Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning or SOTEL (Cochrane & Antonczak, 2016; Cochrane & Narayan, 2015; Cochrane, Narayan, & Antonczak, 2015; Cochrane, Narayan, Antonczak, & Burcio-Martin, 2016). Thus whenever I work with lecturers on projects and communities of practice we aim to reflect upon the project design, implementation and evaluation through peer reviewed publications such as conference proceedings, book chapters, or journal articles. By building peer reviewed feedback into these projects we increase the level of reflection and critique so that subsequent iterations of the projects are improved and we establish interest from a global community of potentially like-minded academics that are interested in innovation in teaching and learning for better student outcomes. his also forms a mentoring model for lecturers to learn the ropes of SOTL/SOTEL within their own pedagogical praxis and enhances their PBRF impact (Performance Based Research Funding). The PBRF process is the principle vehicle for academic research funding from the NZ government. Every 6 years academics must submit a portfolio of research outputs in order to receive a PBRF research rating that draws an annual research income for their institution. The next round of PBRF funding is due at the end of 2017, therefore it presents an opportunity to engage lecturers with SOTL/SOTEL in order to increase their next PBRF rating. This represents an effective ‘carrot’ to build a collaborative partnership with lecturers that will also improve their teaching and thus improve student outcomes as a result. I find this approach is much more effective at creating sustained collaborative partnerships and visible outcomes than a remedial professional development ‘stick’. Therefore linking policy to lecturer research impact is an effective model of professional development by ‘stealth’, and leads to better student experiences and outcomes as a result.

References:

Cochrane, T. (2014). Updating the scholarship of teaching and learning: Boyer for the Post Web 2.0 age. http://bit.ly/1w9AwPn

Cochrane, T., & Antonczak, L. (2015). Connecting the theory and practice of mobile learning: a framework for creative pedagogies using mobile social media. Media Education, 6(2), 248-269.

Cochrane, T., & Antonczak, L. (2016, 6-8 September). Altmetrics and Open Scholarship: Enhancing Mlearning Research Impact Paper presented at the ALT Annual Conference 2016: Connect, Collaborate, Create, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

Cochrane, T., & Narayan, V. (2015, 29 November – 2 December). Developing the Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning (SOTEL). Paper presented at the Globally connected, digitally enabled, the 32nd Ascilite Conference, Curtin University, Perth.

Cochrane, T., & Narayan, V. (2016). Principles of modeling COPs for pedagogical change: Lessons learnt from practice 2006 to 2014. In J. McDonald & A. Cater-Steel (Eds.), Communities of practice: Facilitating social learning in higher education (Vol. In print): Springer.

Cochrane, T., Narayan, V., & Antonczak, L. (2015, 19 November). Mobile Learning, Altmetrics, and SOTEL. Paper presented at the 5th Mobile Creativity and Mobile Innovation Symposium, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Cochrane, T., Narayan, V., Antonczak, L., & Burcio-Martin, V. (2016, 19-20 April). Modelling Open Practices in Professional Development: Creating a culture of open social scholarship. Paper presented at the OER16: Open Culture, University of Edinburgh, UK.