STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

The Professionalisation of Academics as Teachers in Higher Education

This position paper is an outcome of the European Science Foundation’s Exploratory Workshop ‘The Impact of Training for Teachers in Higher Education’ held 18–20 March 2010 in Bratislava with the participation of 20 international academics engaged in both teacher training and researching teaching and learning in higher education. One of the conclusions of the workshop was that directing attention to teaching in higher education is critical for the future of European higher education. Accordingly, this paper calls the attention of policy makers in Europe to the pressing need to improve the quality of teaching in higher education and makes recommendations at the European, national and institutional levels to achieve this.

Steps should be taken to: • define professional standards for higher education teachers • measure teaching effectiveness and provide constructive feedback for academics • establish the institutional support base for educational development locally • recognise teaching excellence in hiring and promotion decisions • promote the idea of the ‘teacher researcher’ • recognise research on teaching as research activity • allocate meaningful funding for educational development • establish a European forum within a currently existing institution that pools and shares resources and existing expertise on educational development across borders