The Taxonomy for Credentialing Australasian University Educators (TCAUE)

2 Introduction

University educators make significant contributions to student success. The Taxonomy for Credentialing Australasian University Educators (TCAUE) recognises and values the role that educators have in student learning, and makes transparent the pathways for personal and professional development. As an Australasian credentialing framework, it is underpinned by regulatory requirements, is aligned to qualification and micro-credentialing frameworks, and permits university contextualisation and portability.

The purpose of the TCAUE is to provide flexible, consistent, and portable educator professional development. The taxonomy is written from the standpoint that learning and teaching should be practice and evidence-based. It encompasses all educator roles, and learning and teaching contexts/communities. University educator roles include academic roles, part-time and sessional teaching, professional and technical positions, research supervision, clinical, laboratory, workshop, studio, field and work-based teaching, industry and advisory, and team-based contributions. In this sense, the taxonomy purposely uses the term ‘practices or context of practice’ to be inclusive of all educator work and the taxonomy aligns well with the Universities Australia Statement of Principles for Professional Development and Recognition of Educators (Universities Australia, 2019).

The taxonomy presents University Educator Credentials in a recognition framework that comprises modularised and stackable components

The taxonomy presents University Educator Credentials in a recognition framework that comprises modularised and stackable components (such as micro-credentials) which align with AQF level 8 standards, and the Australian Government’s National Micro-credentials Framework (Australian Government, 2021b). The TCAUE provides a high-level of flexibility, allowing individual institutions to offer micro-credentials tailored to the demands of university learning and teaching, and the specific needs and ambitions of individual educators.

The taxonomy responds to learner diversity and inclusion, Indigenous Peoples’ of Australia and Māori and Pasifika Peoples’ knowledges and experiences, and allows for local and global content and contexts. It positions educators as active learners who are engaged in contemporary and scholarly-informed essential focus areas. The Six Essential Focus Areas are learner-centred learning and teaching, general capabilities, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), learning outcomes and assessment, data and evaluation, and policy and governance. Providers operate within the framework to produce innovative and engaging ways for educators to enact the essential focus areas.

Dimensions of Learning are represented by the Engage-Apply-Evaluate model. It is an inquiry-based model for practice, reflection, and continuous improvement. The model is learner centred, aligns with AQF Domains and Descriptors, and in the central positioning of reflection and continuous improvement brings to the forefront a focus on learner data, evidence-base, and impact. As educators in practice, users can replicate the model to build inquiry, exploration, and assessment into their learning and teaching.

A culture of continuing scholarship is a fundamental characteristic of higher education (Australian Government, 2018a). In the context of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, scholarship refers to:

    …activities concerned with gaining new or improved understanding, appreciation and insights into a field of knowledge, and engaging with and keeping up to date with advances in the field. This includes advances in ways of teaching and learning in the field and advances in professional practice, as well as advances in disciplinary knowledge through original research. (Australian Government, 2018a, n.p.)

The TCAUE actively supports the sections of the Threshold Standards, (2021) concerned with scholarship. These are (in summary) engagement with advanced knowledge and enquiry, scholarship which informs course design, and scholarship that supports practitioners to develop and apply contemporary and relevant discipline-based learning and teaching practices. The TCAUE and the Threshold Standards have aligned intent with regard to individual activities. Further, Standard 3.1.2, “engagement with advanced knowledge and inquiry”, as enabled by scholarship, is viewed “as a fundamental characteristic of higher education” (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, 2018a, n.p.).

At the provider level, the Threshold Standards apply across institutional, national and international frameworks, and also apply to cultural expectations and professional development. In an environment of scholarly activity,  the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), expects evidence of different forms of scholarship. Engagement with the TCAUE demonstrates commitment to relevant, current, and sustainable professional development.