ACU has quality professional development course

Published: Monday 10th November 2014

The Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) as the service lead of the GCHE has been invited to participate in the Advancing Academic Professionalisation: National Benchmarking of Graduate Certificates for Higher Education Research Project funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT).

This project has three deliverables:

  • To develop a template and approach to compare graduate certificates, in particular learning outcomes, assessment and achievement standards;
  • To summarise approaches to graduate certificates in higher education and alternatives;
  • To produce a core list of common elements in graduate certificates to inform the future collaborative development of modules and resources that could be shared across the sector.

Benchmarking in simplistic terms is the process where an organisation compares its processes and product, with a “best practice” standard so as to improve the quality of the processes and product. Within the ACU context it is the design, delivery, assessment and evaluation of the professional development course, the GCHE.

This benchmarking process to date has involved:

  • sharing GCHE course details with the project team;
  • conducting an internal benchmarking process using the project’s reflective self-review template;
  • conducting a current status rating against each of the ten benchmarks for the 5 dimensions of: plans and policies; alignment; content; assessment, feedback and moderation; and evaluation. The benchmarks are measured on a 5 point scale, with level 5 considered to be the ideal and best practice.

Data and evidence identified by the LTC as a result of the benchmarking process supported an OLT ranking of five (on a scale of one to five, where five is excellent and is considered ideal and best practice) on nine of the ten OLT project benchmarks below:

Benchmark 1 - University plans reflects a commitment to improve teaching quality for academic staff.

Benchmark 2 - The course is linked to university policies, systems and processes.

Benchmark 3 - The course learning outcomes are clearly defined and communicated to participants.

Benchmark 4 - The course learning outcomes are connected to internal and external referents.

Benchmark 5 - Content is regularly updated in light of developments in the field of higher education/ academic practice and is aligned to outcomes.

Benchmark 6 - Learning and teaching approaches model contemporary scholarship and practice.

Benchmark 7 - A variety of assessment types are used with an emphasis on quality and authenticity.

Benchmark 8 - The program uses internal and external moderation.

Benchmark 9 - Meaningful feedback is used to actively support participant learning.

Benchmark 10 -There is a systematic approach to evaluation and enhancement in place.


These findings support ACU’s ongoing efforts to ensure transformational educational experiences and affirm the GCHE professional development course as an opportunity for the articulation, consolidation and enhancement of a teaching-focused role in supporting excellence in teaching and learning at the university.


Tina Bavaro, Senior Lecturer, Academic Development.