We at the University of Adelaide College are thrilled this week to share the news that our long-standing partner in articulation, the University of Adelaide, was recently one of 27 institutions shortlisted for the UK Higher Education Academy’s inaugural Global Teaching Excellence Awards. The award is open to all providers of higher education and attracted entries from all over the world. The first of its kind, the award is specifically focused on rewarding institutional commitment to teaching excellence.

Participants were judged according to three criteria. Firstly, the panel assesses ‘excellence in strategic leadership of teaching and learning,’ looking at the institution’s policies, goals and performance targets. Secondly, the panel looks for evidence of ‘excellence in teaching,’ from the perspective of student learning. Course design, delivery and assessment all factor into this criteria.

Thirdly, the panel assesses ‘excellence in student support,’ looking for ‘flexible and inclusive approaches to teaching and learning which respect diversity, remove barriers to participation, and consider the variety of learning needs and preferences.’ Pastoral care and learning support are also considered important elements of this assessment.

“Being shortlisted is a testament to the dedication of our staff and the great work we are doing to ensure that the education and student support we provide, across the University, is truly world class,” said Professor Mike Brooks, interim Vice-Chancellor at the University of Adelaide, in response to news of the award.

“The University of Adelaide is recognised globally for its research quality and outcomes; it is tremendous to complement that with this acknowledgement of our equal commitment to research-led learning and teaching excellence, and to our students’ success.”

At the College, we’ve long known about the University of Adelaide’s equal commitment to teaching and research. We’ve always been excited to graduate our students into the University of Adelaide bachelor’s degrees, knowing they’re going  to get a great education. Over the last couple of years, the University of Adelaide has pushed its commitment to quality teaching even further with a number of innovative new programs. There’s no doubt that the development of these initiatives contributed to the University’s shortlisting.

Started in 2014, the Small Group Discovery Experience brings student groups and researchers together to work on inquiry projects. The program offers students valuable experience working on real-world academic research projects. So far, the program has covered projects across areas ranging from design to geology, and feedback from students has been very positive.

In 2016, the University of Adelaide established the Adelaide Education Academy, the first of its kind in the whole of Australia. The academy consists only of academic staff who’ve chosen to specialise in teaching, including two past winners of the University’s long-running Stephen Cole, the Elder Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Warren Bebbington, explains why; “by establishing the Adelaide Education Academy, we are saying teaching is a noble career in a university, with its own unique rewards and privileges.”

Recently, the University has begun a pilot of the Adelaide Graduate Award program, recognising excellence in student activities outside the curriculum. We at the College are particularly happy with this initiative. We’ve long taken the view that students who are proactive in seeking experience outside school hours should be supported in their efforts.

The final winner of the Global Teaching Excellence Award will be announced at an award ceremony in London on 4 September. Watch this space for more updates.