eCite Digital Repository

Shared leadership in the academy: creating opportunities and meeting expectations to enhance student learning


Walls, JT and Kelder, JC and Caleidin, CL, Shared leadership in the academy: creating opportunities and meeting expectations to enhance student learning, International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL), 27-30 October, 2015, Melbourne, Australia (2015) [Conference Extract]


Introduction: This paper presents a model of shared leadership (Pearce 2004) for delivering higher education award degrees (courses). At the University of Tasmania, a course coordinator is operationally responsible for standards of curriculum design and delivery and teaching quality. The Faculty of Health’s Quality Evaluation Learning and Teaching (QELT) unit is responsible to monitor the quality of courses, initiate remedial action for units of courses when flagged, and report against a range of institutional and national standards and metrics. QELT has adapted the Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme (PATS) (Carbone et al., 2014), renaming it Peer Assisted Course Enhancement (PACE). PACE is integrated with structures and processes that support learning and teaching. It is a core strategy to link academics’ activities to enhance student learning to Faculty and institutional quality reporting requirements. PACE functions as a framework for teaching teams to develop a culture of shared leadership and collective responsibility for single units, with holistic decision-making on course curricula.

Method: In 2013 the Faculty of Health piloted and evaluated five variations of PATS. PACE was a significant innovation, focusing on course delivery and facilitated by a shared leadership model in a teaching team with individual teachers (and professional staff) taking responsibility for leading, or participating in, actions designed to improve the quality of the curricula or teaching practice. This cultural change means the course coordinator is responsible to develop shared leadership within the team, maintaining a clear articulation of the course goals and building capabilities of members to achieve them. Teachers can document their contributions and report against institutional expectations for teaching performance. Identified problems with units or teaching are the responsibility of the entire team, removing stigma and fostering a collegial, peer-led approach to remediation. Within the shared leadership, QELT provides training and professional development for course coordinators to build teaching team capacity. Participation in PACE is being linked to individual performance management with standardised processes for reporting to the Faculty. Links to institutional reward systems are articulated.

Results: In 2013-14, three teaching teams adopted a shared leadership model and culture of peer partnerships to build capability. Student and peer data provided an evidence-base for improvements to curricula. Individual teachers nominated to lead activities such as improvement to a unit or teaching; report against standards or analyse student, peer and self-reflection data for scholarly purposes. Outputs produced across the three teams included annual evaluation reports to the Faculty; eight peer-reviewed publications, two successful applications for Vice-Chancellor’s citations for contributions to student learning with the third team obtaining an award for ‘programs that enhance learning’.

Conclusion: PACE as shared leadership framework supports collaborative practices that enhance student learning. Shared leadership is a method to facilitate a ‘teaching team’ culture of collective responsibility for the standard of curricula and teaching. From the Faculty’s perspective, shared leadership framework supports a systemic approach to course quality assurance in academic roles, linkages to professional development, performance management and institutional awards and grants.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme; professional development
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Education assessment and evaluation
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Management, resources and leadership
UTAS Author:Walls, JT (Professor Justin Walls)
UTAS Author:Kelder, JC (Dr Jo-Anne Kelder)
UTAS Author:Caleidin, CL (Ms Christine Caleidin)
ID Code:107348
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Faculty of Health
Deposited On:2016-03-11
Last Modified:2016-03-11

Repository Staff Only: item control page