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Issue 1, 2009

Angels and Shepherds

Arts' innovative approach to supporting applicants for promotions and learning and teaching awards

In Semester One, 2009, Macquarie's Faculty of Arts piloted a program to support its finest teachers through the process of writing and gathering evidence for promotions, and learning and teaching award applications. The program offered a two-pronged approach, whereby members of the Arts teaching community could either elect to have their applications appraised by a 'Shepherd' (a previous recipient of a learning and teaching award from amongst the Faculty); or to undergo teaching observation and debriefing sessions with an 'Angel' (a senior member of the Faculty's award-winning student-run Tele's Angels Ancient History Mentor Program).

The 'Angels and Shepherds' program was spearheaded by Arts' Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching, Associate Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, in an attempt to share the wealth of learning and teaching experience resident within the Faculty and promote peer-to-peer engagement between previous award winners and current applicants. The inclusion of students in this process was perhaps the programs greatest innovation, reflecting the current focus on 'student voice' in both campus and national learning and teaching measurement and enhancement directives. The program was warmly received by the Arts community, with 5 staff members teaming up with a 'Shepherd' and 8 taking part in the 'Talk to an Angel' initiative.

While only time will reveal the outcomes of each participant's award or promotion application, it would be short-sighted to measure the program's success by this indicator alone. Program coordinators reported that all participants applicants, Angels and Shepherds alike offered feedback that the opportunity to talk to another member of the Arts community about their journeys through higher education was perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the experience. Many indicated that it has made a lasting change on the way they practice, think and write about learning and teaching.

Ronika Power



Tele's Angels Ancient History Mentors