Scholarship in Teaching

By the end of 2017 universities in Australia will have created more than 800 positions for a new type of academic, the ‘Scholarly Teaching Fellow’ (STF). This project investigates the impact on teaching and learning of this ground-breaking development in the nature of academic work, and aims to build a consensus on how they may develop.

The Future of Academic Work: a Deliberative Conference

Wednesday 5 December, UTS

Twenty years ago, one-in-ten Australians had a university degree; today, it’s one-in-four. Over that time, graduations have more than doubled, and universities have become sites of mass higher education. In the changed university, what is the role of academics? This one-day conference seeks to initiate a debate about the changing nature of academic work in universities and beyond. It debates a landmark report on the emergence of education-focused academics in universities, conducted under the (former) Office for Teaching and Learning.

New ‘Scholarly Teaching Fellows’

The experience so far

With casualisation in the sector continuing to grow, the STF roles offer the potential for a full reassessment of the insecurity-quality nexus in Australian university teaching. The OLT project will critically assess STFs and make recommendations on how they may develop. It will investigate how best to meet required standards on scholarship, job security and quality in university teaching, while addressing university and sector priorities. We are gathering perspectives from appointed STFs, from casual and continuing academics, and from university managers and various other stakeholders.


Ensuring scholarship in teaching?

The introduction of Scholarly Teaching Fellows (STFs) is one response to dramatic changes in teaching delivery. How far can they strengthen scholarship in university teaching?

Student numbers

Student numbers have more than tripled 1990-2013, from 441,000 to 1.4 million in 2013

Dramatic workforce change

The number of casually employed teachers has risen 221% 1990-2013, while continuing teaching-research positions rose 43%

Student : Academic ratio

The number of students for each academic (full-time equivalent, including casual academics) has risen from 14 students per FTE academic in 1990 to 23 in 2013

Breaking the nexus

Casual academics are not paid to engage in research or scholarship. The link between teaching and disciplinary knowledge is undermined.

Scholarly Teaching Fellows

Universities have more than 800 new teaching-intensive positions, mostly continuing and some fixed-term, to replace casual positions and deepen engagement with scholarship.

Scholarship & Quality

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency requires all academic staff to be ‘active in scholarship that informs their teaching’. To what extent do the STFs achieve this?

Project latest

Scholarly Teaching Fellows: Drivers and (Early) Outcomes

    ABSTRACT In Australian universities, the majority of teaching is now delivered by casual academics, engaged on short-term, hourly-paid contracts. Casual and continuing academic staff have worked actively through the national tertiary education union to...


Get in touch

Project Research Associate

Dr Nour Dados

Project Lead Investigator

A/Prof James Goodman