Closing the Loop with Collegiate Conversations in an Australian Voluntary Peer Review of Teaching Program

By Susan Bolt, Brian John Perrin and Stacey Porter.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Australian universities, internal or external peer reviews are not mandatory or universally practiced. However, the regulatory framework is currently under review, and the newly appointed Australian Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency has indicated that peer assessment is an important element of quality. This paper focuses on the development of an internal voluntary peer review of teaching program, which was designed to support the professional development of teachers in a higher-education context. The purpose of this paper is to describe the processes developed to close the loop between observations, feedback, and identification of ongoing support strategies to improve the teaching and learning of the participating academics. An overview of relevant literature is provided to contextualise and differentiate this voluntary peer review of teaching program. To evaluate the program, quantitative and qualitative data were collected under ethics approval via a 38-question survey administered to all fifteen participants in 2010. Data were also collected through participant observation. In this paper, statistical and narrative information is provided pertaining to two key aspects of the program: identifying characteristics of the feedback loop and describing how it was closed. Instruments used to facilitate reflective practice and develop action plans for professional and career development, which are included, have implications for improvement of teaching practices, scholarship of teaching, and learning and career development. Findings presented in this paper address the significant issue of closing the loop between professional development, transfer of learning, and implementation. This paper is relevant to teachers, academic leaders, and developers who are interested in professional and career development, and in closing the loop and assurance of learning.

Keywords: Higher Education, Peer Review of Teaching, Continuous Improvement, Professional and Career Development

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 358.854KB).

Dr. Susan Bolt

Academic Mentor Coordinator, Curtin Business School, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Dr. Susan Bolt is a senior lecturer at Curtin Business School in Western Australia. She provides academic leadership and service in teaching and learning. In 2011, she was awarded a Curtin Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Citation Award for academic leadership, staff development and scholarship of teaching and learning by an early career academic in higher education. She leads the CBS Peer Review of Teaching Program, which aims to improve the quality of teaching through collegiate and reflective practices. In 2011, the program was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and Innovation. She is a team member in an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Leadership for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Grant. She is the inaugural chair of the Curtin Research in Higher Education Committee, and serves on numerous faculty and university committees and mentors colleagues. She has been an assessor for the Australian Awards for University Teaching and has published and reviewed numerous academic papers. In 2011, Susan was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia.

Dr. Brian John Perrin

Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Dr Brian John Perrin is the Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Accounting at Curtin University, Perth. Over the past twelve years he has created and managed stimulating and motivating learning environments for his students in undergraduate and post-graduate units. Brian is a Certified Practicing Accountant who draws from over twenty-five years of industry experience in both the public and private sectors to inform his teaching practice. Brian’s teaching focuses on developing students’ application of theory to practical contexts. Much of Brian’s unit development has been in response to the increasing Higher Education sector recognition that programs need to produce industry ready graduates. As the Director of Teaching Learning, Brian provides strategic leadership and support to ensure that high quality courses are provided and that the teaching and learning is aligned with University, Faculty and School plans and strategic priorities.

Assoc. Prof. Stacey Porter

Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning, Curtin Business School, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Stacey Porter joined the School of Accounting, Curtin Business School in Perth, Australia in 2005. As a unit controller of the Master of Accounting unit, she is involved in lecturing, tutoring and coordinating the administrative aspects both at Bentley campus and in overseas locations. Prior to joining Curtin, she spent six years with Murdoch University tutoring and lecturing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year financial accounting units and concurrently coordinating a 2nd year unit with a senior lecturer. She has also been a guest environmental accounting lecturer for MBA students in Environmental Sciences at Murdoch University. Between 2001−2004, she took time out to work on her PhD but continued her pro-bono work of advising on and evaluating various projects for Kimberley Specialists in Research. Since 1995, she has also been contracted for several research projects, as well as secondary research on ethics and the compilation of information on course requirements for commerce/business undergraduate degrees in National and International Universities (Murdoch University).