The Taxonomy for Credentialing Australasian University Educators (TCAUE)
4 The Principles Statement
The Principles Statement aligns with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, Section 2.3., which has a “primary focus on supporting the wellbeing and promoting the safety of students…irrespective of their mode of participation” (Australian Government, 2018b, p. 1).
The TCAUE is underpinned by inclusive design for learning that responds to learner equity, diversity and inclusion, Indigenous Peoples’ of Australia and Māori and Pasifika Peoples’ knowledges and experiences, and allows for local and global content and contexts. As well as inclusive design for learning, the Principles Statement deliberately foregrounds inclusion and the expectation that educators are attuned to the diverse needs of students, and in particular, consider the ways in which their practice serves to include equity priority groups such as Indigenous learners, learners from regional and remote areas, and learners who are experiencing disability.
The TCAUE recognises Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,’ and Māori and Pasifika Peoples’ scholarship and participation in higher education. It aims to improve professional development pathways for all educator roles in Australasian universities while promoting student and staff wellbeing and a positive experience for learners.
This report uses the umbrella term Indigenous.
The use of the term Indigenous has evolved through international law. It acknowledges a particular relationship of aboriginal people to the territory from which they originate. Indigenous Peoples have social, cultural, economic and political characteristics which are clearly distinct from those of the other segments of the national populations. (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2005, n.p.)
The term is used in the Principles Statement and is applied in the same context used by the government of New Zealand, which is to describe the distinct group of people who have migrated from the Pacific Islands to Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Statement in Full
The full Principles Statement and its development are explained in this section. The Statement is as follows:
Development of the Principles Statement
“Around the world, university teaching in the 21st century is enriched by the inclusion of Indigenous knowers – students and teachers – and Indigenous knowledges”
(Christie & Asmar, 2021, p. 260).
The diverse nature of learners and educators was considered in the development of the taxonomy and its Principles Statement. In an Australian context, the taxonomy’s approach is one that includes Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ practices and knowledges in action and takes into account place-based culturally specific and context-specific practices (Christie & Asmar, 2021). The enactment of the taxonomy intentionally takes place at institutional level to assure relevance and authenticity.
Higher education is reflective of a society in which Indigenous Peoples are both educators and learners. Therefore, each provider is expected to customise the content of its Six Essential Focus Areas, based on the advice of its Indigenous leaders. As an example, specific Indigenous knowledge frameworks could be examined, applied, and evaluated in the focus areas of general capabilities and/or policy.
Local and global content and contexts are developed through the work of educators in each essential focus area. Engagement, application, and evaluation in this area consider the needs of individual users and providers. There is much flexibility around engaging, applying, and evaluating local and global content and contexts, for example through comparative analysis of educational systems and practices, and by reflecting on current and future issues that impact on educational opportunities in Australia, New Zealand and globally.
Wellbeing, safety and respectful relationships are developed though fostering a safe environment, promoting wellbeing and positive environments, and working constructively to assure collegial and respectful relationships with and between learners, colleagues, leaders and educators from external organisations. The expectation for educators to foster an environment of wellbeing and safety aligns with the call for universities to provide safe and mentally healthy university settings which support learners to thrive educationally and personally. The Australian University Mental Health Framework, developed by the Orygen Institute (Orygen, 2020), provides principles, guidelines, and collaborative ideas to enable mentally healthy university settings that support learners to thrive educationally and personally.
Collegiality is included in the principles statement to recognise TEQSA’s focus on positive learning experiences, for example: “developing capacity for academic leadership through collegiality” (TEQSA, 2019a, p. 3), and “modelling respectful behaviour” (TEQSA, 2020, p. 9). It also supports the requirements of the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (Higher Education Academy, 2011), and other frameworks for recognising and acknowledging capabilities in higher education. Collegiality and inclusion are particularly important for casual/sessional and part-time educators, as this cohort often experiences feelings of isolation, uncertainty, and a lack of access to professional development opportunities (Baik et al., 2018; Richardson et al., 2021).
The distinct group of people who have migrated from the Pacific Islands to Aotearoa/New Zealand.