American Journal of Educational Research. 2014, 2(10), 911-918DOI:
Abstract: Consideration of the quality of higher education is a complex and multifaceted issue. A number of stakeholders contribute to this debate and have very diverse perspectives and distinctive opinions on what constitutes quality of, and quality in, higher education and how it should be described, fostered, measured and reported. Discussion at the meta-level tends to focus on aspects such as: national quality frameworks and standards; rankings; benchmarking; and, graduate employment outcomes. Over the past decade, in Australia and in other countries with similar higher education ideologies and structures, there have been concerted efforts to identify and map characteristics of teaching effectiveness and attributes of an effective teacher to better understand how these factors contribute to quality of higher education. Some research studies and educational commentators nominate the capacity and effectiveness of the teacher as critical components in providing a quality education experience. The irony is that in Australian universities, and similarly in higher education in many other countries, a tertiary teaching qualification is not required for employment as a teacher/lecturer in universities. Consequently, for many of our universities the practice of ‘teaching the way I was taught’ has become the default approach to engaging with increasingly diverse and mobile higher education student populations. This paper describes how a personalised Graduate Certificate in Education (Tertiary Teaching), for newly appointed and early career tertiary teachers, taken post-employment, is addressing this issue to some extent. However, in the final analysis the questions that need to be asked are: ‘What is the impact on the quality of higher education of not requiring our teaching staff to have a tertiary teacher education qualification as a pre-requisite for employment?’ and ‘Are we doing a disservice to our students by not requiring university teachers to have appropriate tertiary teacher education preparation?