Institute of Teaching and Learning

Project stages

Stage 1: Project Orientation

  • A Project Reference Group was established. Terms of engaging with the Reference Group were determined on the basis of individual contact and area of expertise.
  • A critical and systematic literature review that built on the work of Marshall (2006) and Anderson and Johnson (2006) with a focus on the contribution of strategic leadership in improving teaching and learning and the development of question agendas for Stage 2 interviews was developed.
  • Benchmarking exercise conducted comparing roles and functions of Australian University Teaching and Learning Centres.
  • Relevant planning documents from partner institutions such as strategic plans, operational plans and teaching and learning development plans, were identified and secured in preparation for the Stage 2 interviews.
  • Implications of Prof. Geoff Scott's ALTC-funded project 'Academic Leadership Capacities for Australian Higher Education: Learning Leaders in Times of Change' (2008) assessed to inform the project's data collection processes.


  • Interview schedules for strategic leadership viewpoints for Stage 2 drafted and refined.
  • Roles and Functions of Teaching and Learning Centres matrix developed.
  • Draft critical literature review considered and refined by partner institutions.
  • Literature review and draft Occasional Paper: 'Strategic Leadership for Institutional Teaching and Learning Centres: Developing a model for the 21st Century' reviewed and refined with input from the Reference Group.

Stage 2: Interviewing Strategic Leadership Stakeholders

  • 37 audio-recorded interviews of between 60-90 minutes were conducted with members of five groups of staff providing strategic leadership perspectives in partner institutions.
  • Interview audio files were transcribed and coded to ensure anonymity of participants.
  • Qualitative interview data were analysed.
  • Development of two papers drawn from the interview data, 'Notions of Strategic Leadership' and 'Teaching and Learning Centres: Towards Maturation'.
  • Papers considered and refined by partner institutions with input from the Reference Group.


  • Interviews conducted; data transcribed and analysed.

Stage 3: Pilot Survey with Partner Stakeholders

  • Survey questions developed.
  • Pilot survey tool developed. The survey focussed on key issues emerging from Stage 2 interviews and asked institutions to consider the importance of key developments relating to centres/institutes in their respective organisations.
  • Feedback received from partners was compiled and considered.
  • Survey instrument was reviewed by an independent expert in survey design and analysis
  • Survey tool refined.


Web-based survey and online data collection system developed and trialled.

Stage 4: Survey Administration

  • Survey delivered online to Directors/Heads of all Australian Centres.
  • Data analysed.
  • Draft survey data report developed and reviewed by partners.
  • Survey data report sent to Directors/Heads of Centres who participated in the survey for their information and to assist them in preparation for the CADAD Centres benchmarking exercise.
  • Project Leader provided CADAD members with a presentation on the project, with a particular focus on the survey outcomes, at the March 2009 CADAD meeting in Brisbane.
  • Poster and A4 Project summary/progress report prepared for ALTC Leadership project meeting in Tasmania in February 2009. Project leader attended event and shared experiences.


  • Survey administered online to Directors/Heads of Centres at Australia's 38 universities (response rate 82%).
  • Final survey report completed and reviewed/endorsed by Project Reference Group.
  • Paper entitled 'Teaching and learning centres: towards maturation' published in Higher Education Research and Development', 2009, 28(4), 371–383.
  • Paper 'Australian Teaching and Learning Centres, through the eyes of their Directors: characteristics, capacities and constraints'. (This paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management).

Stage 5: Focus group discussions

  • Finalisation of focus group participants.
  • Structure of focus group session developed including key questions and activities, letter of invitation and response template.
  • Focus group schedule finalised.
  • Focus groups conducted.
  • Paper analysing the outcomes of the focus group discussions developed.
  • Strategies for addressing key areas in need of improvement and key areas of constraint extracted from focus group data developed with relevant data from interviews and survey incorporated.
  • Workshop proposal for HERDSA's 2009 international conference focussing on how Teaching and Learning Centres can effectively contribute to enhancing the student learning experience and outcomes submitted and accepted. (The workshop was held in Darwin in July, 2009).


  • Focus groups conducted at 10 institutions including 5 non-partner institutions
  • Written analysis of the outcomes of the focus groups prepared

Stage 6: Finalising Outcomes and External Evaluation

  • External evaluation of the project conducted.
  • Post-project dissemination strategy agreed upon and implementation commenced.
  • Development of Guide.
  • Development of Final Project Report to ALTC.
  • Online resources established.
  • Final face-to-face meeting of partners held on 21-22 September 2009 at Deakin University, Geelong Waterfront campus.


  • Final Project Report to ALTC.
  • Guide.
  • Online project material and resources.


Marshall, S. J. (2006). Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Occasional Paper – Issues in the Development of Leadership for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Carrick Institute. Retrieved 30 September, 2009, from the World Wide Web:

Anderson, D. & Johnson, R. (2006). Ideas of leadership underpinning proposals to the Carrick Institute: A review of proposals from the 'Leadership for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Program'. Carrick Institute. Retrieved 30 September, 2009, from the World Wide Web:

Support for this project website has been provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The views expressed in the project do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

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6th December 2010