Business and Economics achieves historic teaching result
The Faculty of Business and Economics and the Graduate School of Business and Economics records historically high ranking in recent Quality of Teaching survey.
Associate Professor Martin Davies, Acting Director of the Teaching and Learning Unit at the Faculty of Business and Economics says that the result represents a major achievement. “We have seen a gradual rise over the past 10 years. There has been a consistent trend upwards. It represents the collective effort of lots of people.”
Each semester the University of Melbourne conducts an evaluation of each and every subject offered known as the Quality of Teaching (QoT).
The Faculty of Business and Economics rated very highly across all measures and did especially well in the questions addressing how ‘well taught’ and ‘intellectually stimulating’ subjects were. The Faculty’s teaching staff also rated very highly for interest levels and engagement with their subject material.
Davies says that measuring and evaluating teaching is important because it indicates to both students and staff that the university takes the quality of its teaching seriously, “There is a case for giving teaching quality more status. This is achieved by asking those being taught their opinions on a regular basis, and then scrutinising the results and comparing differences.”
Particular attention is given to the second question of the survey: ‘This subject is well-taught’. Davies says this is done so that if there are consistent problems with the perceived teaching quality in a particular subject action can be taken.
Of course, no measurement method is fool-proof says Davies. Evidence has shown that there can be a bias in any survey, caused by something as seemingly trivial as the time of day the survey is conducted.
Despite the risk of bias, the general consensus is that a strong QoT score is a reliable indicator of quality. “We all know a ‘good’ teacher when we see one. I like to think of the measurement of teaching quality as a bit like measurement of the weather: not always accurate all the time, but a useful barometer most of the time. That’s why it is important to measure it,” says Davies.
The Teaching and Learning Unit at the Faculty of Business and Economics runs a number of programs to ensure that there is continuous improvement in QoT results.
This includes the Teaching Enhancement Program for new lecturers, the Tutor Training Program for new tutors and a Subject Design and Curriculum Renewal Program to help lecturers innovate in subject design. There is also the Teaching Mentor Program in which lecturers can model their teaching in front of a TLU staff member who then provides constructive feedback to improve performance. Teaching Innovation Grants of up to $15,000 are also available to individual staff for new teaching ideas.
“It all helps to improve our QoT scores. This year I hope to introduce an exclusive Teaching Innovators’ Club, for those who have demonstrated excellence in terms of teaching innovation. This will, I hope, inspire others to join.”
Davies says that these strategies have been very effective, “The gradual rise in the quality of teaching results over the past 10 years to our current historically high ranking is evidence these programs are having an effect.”