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Academic Staff Teaching Qualifications and Equivalent Professional Experience Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy provides the principles and guidelines to help ensure that Charles Sturt University (University) academic staff who teach award courses are appropriately qualified in the relevant discipline, have a sound understanding of current scholarship and/or professional practice in the discipline that they teach, and have an understanding of the pedagogical and/or adult learning principles relevant to the students being taught, and:

  1. are qualified to at least one Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Qualification Standards level higher than the course of study being taught; or
  2. are deemed to have obtained the "equivalent professional experience" in lieu of the formal qualifications.

(2) This Policy applies to all academic staff teaching and assessing University students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate (including research higher degree) award courses and subjects, whether they are employed by the University or by any of its teaching partners (including TAFE, and offshore and onshore partners).

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Section 2 - Glossary

(3) Nil.

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Section 3 - Policy

Introduction and Background

(4) Students expect and deserve to be taught, mentored and supervised by appropriately qualified and experienced staff who have comprehensive and current knowledge of the discipline area and subject material being taught.

(5) The University's academic teaching staff who teach award courses should be appropriately qualified in the relevant discipline, have a sound understanding of current scholarship and/or professional practice in the discipline areas that they teach, and understand the pedagogical and/or adult learning principles relevant to the students being taught.

Guiding Principles Relating to the Qualifications of Staff Teaching at the University

(6) Most academic staff normally will have the required level of formal qualifications required by this Policy. The formal qualifications of the staff member normally will be in the same (or in a cognate) discipline as the course content and materials being taught. However, in some cases, such as in emerging areas and in some professional areas, academic staff will need to demonstrate that they have gained a combination of formal qualifications as well as relevant teaching, professional, research and work experiences in order to comply with the minimum qualifications' requirements of this Policy.

(7) Normally academic staff, who are assessed on a combination of formal qualifications and professional or other experiences, must have formal qualifications at least at the same AQF level as the course being taught. Professional and other experiences and skills will only be used to assess whether the staff member is deemed to have "qualifications" one qualification standards level above the course being taught.

(8) Any teaching and professional experience must be current and relevant to the subject material being taught, and must be supported by appropriate evidence and/or references. University work experiences (such as teaching and research) will be considered to be an extension of professional experiences where a staff member was originally employed because of their relevant professional experiences.

(9) The minimum expectations and requirements for the qualifications of University teaching staff are shown in clauses 15 and16 of this Policy.

(10) The following categories of staff will be exempt from the requirements of this Policy, but must have a level of knowledge and expertise that will demonstrably enhance the learning experiences of students: occasional guest lecturers and teachers/instructors who do not teach more than one-third of the subject in any teaching session.

(11) Workplace learning educators and workplace learning supervisors (as defined by the University's Workplace Learning Policy) normally will require at least a Bachelor qualification plus two years' full-time equivalent (FTE) experience in the discipline in the past 10 years. If they do not possess a Bachelor qualification, they will require extensive workplace experience as deemed appropriate by the Head of School and/or the Executive Dean.

(12) Where a subject has a research component, the staff member teaching the research component will be required to demonstrate that they have relevant research skills and successful research experiences.

(13) There may be special circumstances not covered by these guidelines. In such cases, an academically defensible position must be made for each individual staff member. For example, at the time of approving any policy on this topic, existing staff may be exempt from the operation of the Policy for a specific subject or cohort of students, if they can demonstrate to the Head of the School and/or the Executive Dean that they have been successful teachers for a significant period of time.

(14) In assessing the qualifications of staff in certain disciplines who will be the primary supervisors of doctoral students, membership of specific organisations may be deemed equivalent to the possession of a doctoral degree — for example, Diplomats of European Colleges, Australian College Fellowships, Fellowships of the Royal College, and the American Board diplomats.

Minimum Requirements for the Qualifications of Teaching Staff

(15) The table below outlines the minimum requirements, and Divisions may require additional evidence or standards as appropriate for different disciplines or professional areas of study.

(16) It is assumed that the qualifications of the staff member are in the same (or in a cognate) discipline as the course content and materials being taught.

AQF level being taught AQF Qualifications of teaching staff University Guidelines on Equivalence
Level 6 (Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma) Level 7 — Bachelor Degree Except in special circumstances, the minimum qualification level to teach any University student is a Bachelor degree.
Level 7 — Bachelor Degree Level 8 - Honours, Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas Level 7 qualification (Bachelor degree) and current (membership) registration to practise within the relevant profession (if relevant) PLUS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: 3 years' relevant teaching, research and/or professional experience in the last 5 years OR Completion of at least two-thirds of a relevant level 9 (Masters) course, plus some relevant teaching, research and/or professional experience, together totalling 3 years.
Level 8 — Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma) Level 9 - Masters by research or coursework Level 8 qualification and current (membership) registration to practice within the relevant profession (if relevant) PLUS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: 5 years' relevant teaching, research and/or professional experience in the last 10 years OR Completion of at least two-thirds of a relevant level 9 (Masters) course plus some relevant teaching, research and/or professional experience, together totalling 5 years
Level 9 — Master Degree (Coursework), Master Degree (Extended) Level 10 - Doctorate by research or coursework Level 9 qualification and current (membership) registration to practice within the relevant profession (if relevant) PLUS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: 5 years' relevant teaching, research and/or professional experience in the last 10 years OR Completion of at least two-thirds of a relevant level 10 (Doctoral) course plus some relevant teaching and/or professional experience, together totalling 5 years
Level 9 —Master Degree (Research) Level 10 - Doctorate by research or coursework Level 9 qualification and current (membership) registration to practice within the relevant profession (if relevant) PLUS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: 5 years' relevant research and/or professional experience in the last 10 years OR Completion of at least two-thirds of a relevant level 10 (Doctoral) course plus some relevant research experience, together totalling 5 years
Professional Doctorate or PhD student PhD or Research Professional Doctorate plus research publications in the relevant discipline Principal Supervisor: PhD or Research Professional Doctorate or equivalent plus research publications in the relevant discipline. Secondary (Co-) Supervisor: As above, but could be varied by the School/Faculty to include staff with many years of experience in achieving research publications in the discipline area and/or are staff who have extensive and highly successful professional experience relevant to the research project.

Roles and Responsibilities

(17) Executive Deans or nominees (such as Head of Schools) are responsible for demonstrating that they have assessed an academic staff member's qualifications and their "equivalence" of experiences for the relevant AQF level being taught. They must be satisfied that the professional experience will provide relevant staff with the appropriate level of skills, attitudes, knowledge and currency to undertake the specific teaching duties.

(18) In assessing a staff member's eligibility to teach at any specific AQF level, Executive Deans or nominees should assess broader skills and experiences, such as the following:

  1. research and/or creative work and/or projects at an advanced level;
  2. research publications and conference/seminar presentations;
  3. relevant workplace experiences;
  4. peer reviews of teaching or teaching materials; and
  5. leadership roles in local, state and national advisory and governing bodies and community and professional organisations.

(19) Faculties and their Schools will develop guidelines that are consistent with this Policy. In particular, Executive Deans or nominees must maintain suitable records that include:

  1. the details of the guidelines used by the Schools of the Faculty in assessing "equivalent experiences";
  2. the details of how each individual academic staff member seeking "equivalence" was assessed as having satisfied those guidelines; and
  3. exceptions to the guidelines and the rationale for the exceptions (approvals of these exceptions must be evidence-based and identify the relevant skills, knowledge and experiences of the staff member).

(20) Head of Schools and academic staff supervisors will encourage academic staff to complete relevant approved University courses/subjects where there is a need to enhance the knowledge of pedagogical and/or adult learning principles relevant to the students being taught.

The Role of Academic Senate

(21) The Academic Senate is responsible for:

  1. endorsing and amending this Policy; and
  2. monitoring the implementation and the reporting on the outcomes of this Policy , with the assistance of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

(22) The Division of Human Resources is responsible for approving this Policy.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(23) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(24) Nil.