The Taxonomy for Credentialing Australasian University Educators (TCAUE)

5 Educator Profiles

The core educator profiles of Associate University Educator, Foundation University Educator, and Advanced University Educator have been established to outline descriptions of practice, and to value and recognise sophistication and advancement of knowledge, skills, application, and impact. These are indicative and not intended to be prescriptive, nor exhaustive, in nature.

The educator profiles were informed in part by the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework, (Higher Education Academy [HEA], 2011), the work of Chalmers (2007), the Academic Professional Development Effectiveness Framework (Chalmers et al., 2012; Chalmers & Gardiner, 2015), common academic duty descriptors for academic work in universities, the common titling of foundation or induction programs, and other recognition pathways, such as the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) Fellowship Scheme. The profiles in the TCAUE blend the nomenclature from each of these frames in the selection of Associate, Foundation, and Advanced University Educator.

The term educator has been purposefully utilised to demonstrate the varied contributions that individuals make to student learning and success. The taxonomy recognises the roles that academic, sessional, professional and technical staff have in teaching and teaching quality, and it supports professional development for all educator roles.

Educators make valuable and
varied contributions
to learners’ success

As noted by Richardson et al., (2021), it is important for providers to consider the motivations and future plans of full-time, part-time, and casual/sessional staff.
Higher education providers in Australia and New Zealand are reliant on sessional (casual) teaching staff. It is estimated that around 60% of university teaching staff in Australia are employed on a casual/sessional basis, with some of these educators being employed for more than six years on a casual contract (Baik et al., 2018; Harris et al., 2020). In recognition of this, an experienced, long-term sessional staff member may comprise any of the taxonomy’s three University Educator Profiles. Indeed, research in the area of educator profiles recognised the experience and diversity of casual/sessional staff; these include industry experts, freelancers, returning retirees, and university students (Beaton & Gilbert, 2012).

The mobility of casual/sessional staff across institutions has been accelerated by the recent increase in online modalities of learning, making recognition of achievement increasingly important for this cohort. The Credential Outline (see Chapters 14 and 15) includes sections that educators and institutions can refer to when considering cross-institutional employment opportunities, such as a customised provider statement, learning outcomes, a statement of articulation pathways, and the approved volume of learning. Although casual and sessional staff are included in the Associate University Educator profile area (see Table 1), it should be noted that the table offers examples only, as the TCAUE provides a basis for development, support, and recognition based on past achievement, provider customisation, and personal goals.

The taxonomy’s three University Educator Profiles are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1. University Educator Profiles[1]

Educator Profile Examples
Associate University Educators Educators who are engaged in learning and/or teaching, and advisory or support roles, which may include guidance or support from experienced educators. Staff new to university teaching, sessional staff, higher degree research students, learning advisors, library staff, laboratory and learning technologies staff, industry-based teaching personnel, workplace supervisors, and other third space professionals.
Foundation University Educators Educators who are engaged in substantive learning and teaching design and practice, and/or senior learning advisory or support roles and are likely to be established members of one or more university learning and teaching contexts/communities. Experienced full or part-time teaching staff, research staff, industry-based teaching personnel.
Advanced University Educators Educators who demonstrate sustained influence within and across one or more university learning and teaching contexts/communities, including mentoring and leadership. Experienced teaching staff, staff who have completed the Foundation University Educator Program and/or have a sustained impact and influence on higher education practice.


  1. Adapted from the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework, 2011, pp. 4-6