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Lotta Antman at Learning Lund, Lund University Thomas Olsson at Lund Institute of Technology Pernille Hammar Andersson at Lund Institute of Technology Shirley Booth at Learning Lund, Lund University
Themes: staff development strategies
The Pedagogical Academy is a model for rewarding excellent teaching, developed at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University (LTH). Teachers wishing to enter submit a pedagogical portfolio for assessment and successful applicants are awarded the title Excellent Teaching Practice [1, 2]. The Pedagogical Academy was developed to afford status to pedagogical development and to bring about a paradigm shift at LTH, to change the focal point from teaching to learning in order to meet the challenges of diversity and inclusivity that face higher education today .
In this process, individual teachers are rewarded for their contributions to the joint scholarly venture of improving student learning and for their knowledge claims which are evidence-based, documented and made public in pedagogical portfolios . By developing a pool of situated knowledge of how teachers teach and students learn in different subjects, courses, learning environments and years of study, LTH can foster teachers who are not only knowledgeable about learning but who are also competent learners themselves [5, 6, 7, 8].
We set out to study the phenomenon of rewarding excellent teaching, as it was conceptualised and implemented: within the formulated aims and criteria, in the submitted pedagogical portfolios and in their assessment, in the assessors’ interviews with each applicant, and in the grading procedure. The specific question we set out to answer here is: What constitutes excellent teaching, in theory and practice, as expressed in this process?
We used a phenomenographic approach to capture the phenomenon in all its complexity, and chose to approach it from several different angles – by triangulating the analyses of documents, video-recorded observations and interviews . Studied documents included pedagogical portfolios, letters of recommendation by department heads, reviewers’ reports on each pedagogical portfolio, and the judgement protocol. Video-recordings were made of the interviews that the group of assessors had with each applicant, and of their internal discussions, both before and after each interview. In-depth interviews were made with strategically chosen participants, individuals we by now knew represented different ways of experiencing the process and who had different perspectives on learning. The results and implications of the study will be analysed and discussed in the light of Habermas’ critical theory [10, 11].
Preliminary results show that there is a discrepancy between the theory and practice of rewarding excellent teaching. The gap between theory and practice is characterised and recommendations to bridge it will be presented.
A challenge for the success of the Pedagogical Academy is that diversity in excellence and scholarship among teachers is valued and rewarded, and that a sense of inclusivity is fostered.