Shifting from Anecdote to Keynote: Mapping the Journey from Local to Global Excellence

The University of Notre Dame, Australia

The University of Notre Dame, Australia


Against the backdrop of quality practice there is significant pressure for higher education practitioners to seek to (im)prove, aggregate and stand acknowledged for their contribution to teaching excellence. Those who purport to lead, to advise and support such aims within the academy have done so with few formal resources. In this context, academics can succumb to "lower order" evidence focused on student satisfaction and testimonials.

Based on models not routinely considered teaching excellence paradigms, but firmly anchored in evaluation (such as, Stufflebeam's CIPP model, 2000; Kirkpatrick's four levels of impact, 1998; and the 360 degree multi-source appraisal model) a mapping framework was configured. This one-page conversational map captures the trajectory of excellence and evidence from local to global impact. It actively engages the academic in a robust critique through which they can confidently locate their current practice, evaluate the likelihood of their excellence being recognised beyond the local, and set goals for strategic development.

The mapping framework has been trialed with a small sample of academics. Those that judged themselves against the map as having a sufficiently robust body of evidence used the framework to argue a persuasive and evidence-based case and win a University Award for Excellence. More significantly, those requiring further academic development gained from the framework an unambiguous sense of the extant gaps and shortcomings. Of these, all returned twelve months later with their copy of the map annotated – an unexpected indicator of the impact and value of the map as a self-reflective and self-evaluative tool.

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