“The single most important distinctive competence of world-class universities is probably their ability to attract and retain highly qualified faculty. […] Talented professors attract talented students.” (Abramo et al 2016:596)
The virtuous cycle leading to an improvement in a University’s reputation is equally valid for both research activities and quality teaching.
With the aim of enhancing UNSW’s sustained competitive advantage, numerous programs of work have been initiated through the 2025 Strategy to bring education to the forefront of UNSW activities.
Aimed at improving the student experience and the quality of teaching, one cornerstone of our strategy is the Scientia Education Experience (SEE), with the domain “Inspired learning through inspiring teaching” driving institutional programs such as Education Focussed careers, Scientia Education Teaching Fellowships, SEIF grants, teaching awards, professional development opportunities, and peer review of teaching.
Whilst stellar teachers are very likely to be well known and recognised (e.g. Scientia Education Lecture series), the issue of how to characterise teaching impact and quality of teaching remains a challenging task. While the peer review of teaching provides one source of evidence of teaching quality, there is also a need to define a metric with stable features which can be used to quantify teaching impact and provide opportunities for benchmarking. Hirsh (2005) introduced a metric in the research domain (the h-index) that focused on a number of papers and citations. This metric was quickly taken up by the scientific community as an indicator of research achievement.
In this session, we will present and discuss an approach, with similar characteristics to the h-index, that quantifies teaching impact.
The discussion will enable us to consider the strengths as well as the issues and limitations of such a metric, and to reflect on its value within the backdrop of the SEE.
Dr Lorenzo Vigentini
Lorenzo is the Academic Lead in Educational Intelligence and Analytics within Educational Delivery Services portfolio in the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education at UNSW Sydney, steering several initiatives at the intersection of educational analytics, institutional evaluation, quality enhancement, student engagement and educational technology tools development.
Dr Zach Aandahl
Zach is a data scientist and Manager of Educational Intelligence within Educational Delivery Services portfolio in the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education at UNSW Sydney. He has been at UNSW since 2007 as a Senior System Engineer with IT and has extensive professional experience in computing with a strong academic background in statistics, mathematics and computational biology.