Last month we "pilot people" took great joy in saying 'Hello Fellow!' While it was gruelling at times, it also gave many of us the first chance in a long time to really stop and reflect on who we had become as educators. That is, many of us were surprised to realise just how much we had achieved. As part of this process, we also learnt how to think reflexively and to write reflectively. Because the pilot was cross-disciplinary and cross campus, it also gave us the privilege of learning more about the work of our fabulous colleagues.
The first real challenge of the pilot was to decide which Descriptor (D1-D4) within the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) we thought we should aim for. Some of us wondered if we were good enough, others wanted to match their energy to the requirements of a particular Descriptor. The next challenge was to unpack the PSF. While we recognised that the PSF was equivalent to our good practice in the Australian higher education sector, we still needed and wanted to understand the threads that held the PSF together and how the Dimensions of the Framework (Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge and Professional Values) needed to be captured in our applications. The best resources to help us through the pilot process were the annotated works of others, each other, and our Advance HE resource people who provided feedback on our drafts. Despite this, we struggled with the principle that there was not one way to tackle an application. Nevertheless, we were told to trust in the moderation, calibration and committee processes and in the end our results showed that our trust had not been misplaced.
We are now exploring ideas around where to from here? One of the goals of the pilot was to develop an inaugural pool of Fellows who will be instrumental in mentoring colleagues in further innovations in learning design and teaching strategies. However, we are keen to do more than just say 'thank you for participating ... now we want more from you'. Instead, we think we might first continue in our capacity building approach by providing support to our new Fellows in learning how to better mentor, coach, and lead.
The recent announcement by our Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Margot Kearns signalling the conclusion of the pilot over the summer of 2018 speaks to the heart of our journey: 'We should be proud of this international recognition as it signals a significant milestone for the University, and it bodes well for the future reputation of Notre Dame as a leader in pursuing excellence in academic endeavours".
Dr Kathie Ardzejewska, Manager of the Learning and Teaching Office | Academic Developer PFHEA FHERDSA
Kathie Ardzejewska is the Manager of the Learning and Teaching Office (LTO) at The University of Notre Dame Australia. In this role, she provides managerial leadership, steering the LTO team in collaborations with the academic community as well as providing support and resources for educators. Such opportunities ultimately aim to enrich the learning and teaching experiences of students. Kathie is also the Deputy Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee providing strategic leadership in the development of quality learning and teaching practices. Kathie held the position of Associate Dean (Programs and Quality) at the Australian College of Physical Education prior to her appointment at Notre Dame. As Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee she drove a number of innovations across the College including the implementation of transition pedagogies and technology enhanced learning. She also taught Indigenous Education, Indigenous Health and Research Methodologies.
She was twice presented with the excellence in teaching award by the College. Kathie has worked closely with government bodies especially in relation to education standards resulting in successful accreditation of courses and awarding of grants. She is also an accredited panel chair with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and a member of the Program and Course Accreditation Committee at Notre Dame. Kathie is a senior leader in the higher education sector, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) and has been awarded the Higher Education Academic Staff Leadership Colloquium Scholarship. She is an academic board member of a number of private higher education providers and is an inaugural member of the Steering Committee of the Higher Education Private Provider Quality Network. Kathie is currently presenting and writing about leadership in higher education; assessment and transition; and the intersection of social determinants and how these play out in the success and wellbeing for people on the margins.