Faculty Scholars Project

Faculty Scholars Project

Sustaining distributive leadership in learning and teaching:Cascade and perpetual effectiveness of the faculty scholar model

The Distributive Leadership Project was a joint Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) project between Flinders University (lead institution), James Cook University, La Trobe University and the University of Canberra.

The project outcomes were to refine and further develop the framework developed in an earlier project, Distributive leadership for learning and teaching, to support capacity building for leadership in higher education, and to evaluate the outcomes for faculty scholars from 2007-2009 in relation to the development of leadership capacity to ascertain the appropriateness and sustainability of the model. For further information on the completed project, see the OLT website.

JCU Faculty Scholars

Photo of Maree Dinan Thompson

Dr Maree Dinan Thompson
Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences

Project title: Expanding staff repertoires of ‘fit-for-purpose’ assessment practices

Project focus: James Cook University will soon launch a refreshed suite of courses that reflect the newly developed Strategic Intent and University Plan. This project will address the design and review of ‘fit-for-purpose’ assessment tasks and practices to support the development of these new courses, and more specifically first year subjects. The Faculty incorporates a broad range of disciplines (social work, psychology, languages and education to name a few) and serves students enrolled in several campuses and many modes. Hence, leading cross-discipline collaborations within and across campuses, a common goal for James Cook University’s ‘curriculum refresh’, will be an integral (and challenging) component of this project

Project outcomes/deliverables (assessment project):

  • To review current assessment practices and (re)design ‘fit-for-purpose’ assessment tasks.

  • To conduct assessment workshops that focus on ‘fit-for-purpose’ assessment tasks – tasks that are valid, reliable, transparent and authentic in first year subjects OR other subjects.

  • To promote cross-discipline and cross-campus collegiality in the collation of ‘fit-for-purpose’ assessment tasks to form a Faculty Assessment Bank.

  • To disseminate and celebrate staff review and design of ‘fit-for-purpose’ assessment tasks in the Faculty’s Teaching Windows event in October 2009.

  • As a leader of this project to explore and monitor the role of a ‘distributed (parallel) leader’ in the Faculty – enablers and barriers.

Project outcomes/deliverables (leadership):  

Professional Development Workshop at 2011 FYE Conference

  1. (Re) Designing Fit-For-Purpose (FFP) Assessment Tasks Presentation

  2. A Guide for (Re) Designing Fit For Purpose (FFP) Assessment Tasks

  3. Peer Review of Fit For Purpose (FFP) Assessment Tasks

Photo of Stephen Naylor

Dr Stephen Naylor
Faculty of Law, Business and the Creative Arts

Project title: James Cook University Graduate/Professional Capabilities. (Implementing new assessment tools for mapping Graduate Attributes and Professional Qualities)

Project focus: This project will analyse the mapping and assessment of Graduate Attributes in the Undergraduate programs offered in the Faculty of Law, Business and Creative Arts. Through an evaluation of the current model it is anticipated that there will be a need to re design assessment instruments and approaches that maybe undertaken at various stages throughout the duration of these courses. The project aims to develop a cross Faculty group to work on strategies to ensure that Graduate Attributes are embedded into all programs and assessment tools are developed or modified to assist in a simple mapping and acquisition of these skills and experiences.

Project outcomes/deliverables:

  • Create a compendium of vertically integrated subjects offered in other Universities  focusing upon their assessment processes (and perhaps visit these Unis).

  • Prepare a report on the literature associated with assessment of Graduate Attributes and vertically integrated subjects.

  • Run a seminar/workshop designed to map the requirements and nuances associated with the assessment of Graduate Attributes in the Faculty.

  • Develop a team of interested parties across the Faculty, and hold a retreat to advance an assessment model to address the needs all stakeholders in monitoring Graduate Attributes and Professional Qualities for courses in our Faculty.

  • Prepare an assessment strategy to be embedded into Capstone subjects for all degree courses in the Faculty.

  • Create an evaluation instrument designed to survey the implementation of the Graduate Attributes assessment tasks to be used by students, staff and industry.

Photo of Helen Anscomb

Dr Helen Anscomb
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences

Project title: Strategically designed assessment shapes effective approaches to study

Project focus: The design of assessment activities within a program of study is key to enhancing assessment practice and the student learning experience. This project utilises the ideas, strategies and resources collected through two influential projects conducted by the Centre For Study Into Higher Education (CSHE):

An integrated approach to assessment through considered curriculum design

This faculty-based project will review current assessment practices and their vertical integration throughout degree programs and recommend approaches to enhancing assessment and student learning within professional biomedical and health science-based programs of study. The aim is to provide recommendations for, and document evidence of, successful ways that student learning and approaches to study can be shaped by assessment practices designed to develop both professional competencies and JCU graduate attributes required by Health and Allied Health students.

Approaches applied in this project will include:

  • Course mapping and tracking of assessment

  • Aligning outcomes and assessment

  • Matching of assessment tasks to professional accreditation requirements (standards)

Project outcomes/deliverables:

  1. A model assessment plan

  • Promoting renewal and review of assessment practices within the Faculty

  • Guidelines for effective approaches to learning

  • Demonstrating how to achieve alignment to expected learning outcomes

  • Methods of defining and protecting academic standards.

  1. Enhancing learning by enhancing assessment practices and documenting successful programs/subjects and teaching staff.

  2. Promoting change within the assessment practices of the Faculty.

Photo of Shaun Belward

Dr Shaun Belward
Faculty of Science and Engineering

Project title: Numeracy as a Generic Skill in the Bachelor of Science

Project focus: The increasing diversity of the student population presents enormous challenges to lecturing staff in the science disciplines. Lack of ability in quantitative skills is often raised as an area of concern, and many lecturing staff feel the situation is worsening. In this project we aim to develop ‘numeracy pathways’ within majors, so that there is a coordinated approach to the development and assessment of numeracy skills. It is anticipated that long term engagement with this topic, even through small episodes, will improve performance in this key area.

Project outcomes/deliverables:

  1. Review current practice.  What do we mean by numeracy?  What do we teach?  How do we assess?

  2. For each major, determine a quantitative skills pathway, so that numeracy is explicitly targeted in each semester and the development of these skills is coordinated.

  3. Develop resources for teaching and assessment.  These will be contextual in nature, to facilitate student engagement and so they are not out of place in the subject they are embedded.

  4. Determine a method for recording student performance in numeracy (for example in an e-portfolio).  This would be part of a bigger project to record student performance in all graduate attributes, where possible.