A Continuum of Teaching Expertise


Authors: Dr. Wendy Benoit, PhD, Dr. Carol Berenson, PhD, Dr. Dawn Johnston, PhD, Dr. Natasha Kenny, PhD, Dr. Kiara Mikita, PhD, Dr. Lorelli Nowell, PhD, and Dr. Leslie Reid, PhD

Conversations about teaching frameworks and how best to document teaching practices have recently become a hot topic on University campuses both nationally and internationally. For example, teaching frameworks at the University of Colorado (Boulder) and the University of Kansas are designed to support efforts related to documenting and evaluating teaching in a local context. The Royal Academy of Engineering designed a framework to document teaching achievements for all university academics, regardless of discipline, institution, or geography.

The developmental framework for teaching expertise (Kenny et al., 2017) was created by teaching and learning leaders at the University of Calgary to help further conceptualize the complexities of growing and documenting teaching expertise. It presents 5 facets of teaching expertise:

  1. Teaching and supporting learning;
  2. Professional learning and development;
  3. Mentorship;
  4. Research scholarship and inquiry; and,
  5. Educational leadership.

The framework contains rich descriptions of each facet. Building upon this framework Kenny et al. (2018) created a guide to providing evidence of teaching. Although these documents are packed with valuable insights, they are also lengthy. One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive is, “Wow this is great, but it is really LONG. It would be great to have something that more briefly communicates what a continuum of teaching expertise may look like.”

We heard this feedback and wanted to create something more succinct. A group of colleagues gathered to explore what a simplified document might look like, resulting in the following continuum of teaching expertise. Like the developmental framework, we envision this continuum as a document to help: 1)  further understand the many facets and activities that contribute to developing teaching expertise, 2) guide educator self-reflection and growth, and, 3) inspire dialogue and conversations about what it means to develop teaching expertise with peers, department heads and other educational leaders (Chick et al., 2017).

We recognize that not everything in this continuum will resonate for each context; however, we believe it offers an overall picture of what a continuum of teaching expertise might look like. We encourage readers to share, use, and adapt this document as they best see fit to support individual, faculty, and university growth and development in teaching expertise.

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