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The value of peer interaction on a personal reflective journey: The participant experience of a professional recognition programme

Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 4:45pm – 5:15pm parallel session



Room 5 – 301-G050 Lg Chem



Emily Whitehead
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Dr John Davies
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Dr Nell Buissink
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Piki Diamond
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Herewini Easton
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand



Professional recognition of higher education teaching is a ‘hot topic’ in the sector, especially in the Australasian region (Suddaby, 2019). Since 2014, many programmes accredited by Advance HE have been implemented in the region, so that staff can be recognised for their teaching through Higher Education Academy Fellowship (Beckmann, 2016). We have noted two key areas of interest in this development: the delivery of these programmes, and their measurable impact on teaching quality and student learning (Kneale et al., 2016). Our understanding of the experience and impact of these programmes is only now starting to emerge as it is often hard to gather appropriate evidence (Phuong et al., 2018).

Auckland University of Technology’s accredited programme, Ako Aronui: Pathway to HEA Fellowship, has just completed its first year. It is a unique programme that has developed a contextualised framework and application process. As part of this development, an evaluation framework based on Guskey (2002) and Kreber & Brook (2001) was designed and implemented.  This framework evaluates the experiences of our participants and the impact the programme is having on teaching practice, and its reported impact on the student learning experience.

While it is early in the programme’s delivery and evaluation programme, we have made interesting findings regarding what is valued by staff in the delivery of this professional recognition programme. As a programme, it doesn’t deliver ‘content’; it rather guides staff on a process of reflection on their teaching practice and thus is quite personal and unique to each participant. However, our early evaluation data shows the great value that peer interactions have had for our participants on this journey.

In this showcase, we explore early quantitative and qualitative data from questionnaires of participants and mentors to paint a picture of their experiences in the programme. We will also draw on the reflections and observations of the programme team on the introduction of more peer-based activities on participation and completion of the programme.



Beckmann, E. A. (2016). Teaching excellence: Recognising the many as well as the few. Research and development in higher education: The shape of higher education39, 13-22.
Guskey, T. R. (2002). Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and teaching8(3), 381-391.
Kneale, P., Winter, J., Turner, R., Spowart, L., Hughes, J., McKenna, C. & Muneer, R. (2016). Evaluating Teaching Development in Higher Education. Towards Impact Assessment: Literature Review. Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from
Kreber, C. and Brook, P. (2001) Impact evaluation of educational development programmes. International Journal for Academic Development, 6(2) 96-108.
Phuong, T. T., Cole, S. C., & Zarestky, J. (2018). A systematic literature review of faculty development for teacher educators. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(2) 373-389.
Suddaby, G. (2019). Professional standards for Tertiary Teachers: A Synthesis of recent work and initiatives. Wellington: Ako Aotearoa.


Presentation topic

Academics – Academic Development

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