The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is committed to providing quality teaching in an intellectual environment that is responsive to the learning needs of our students, and that respects and is inclusive of their diversity.
Achieving excellence in teaching standards is vital to the student experience at the University of Sydney and in our Faculty. Strategy Seven in The University’s Strategic Plan 2011-2015 focuses specifically on developing our capacity to identify and promulgate excellence in teaching University-wide.
Ensuring the quality of our teaching involves:
- Regularly evaluating our units of study and responding to improve the standards of our delivery where required.
- Designing our curriculum effectively and continuously improving both course structure and content.
- Providing a variety of learning contexts to meet student needs, including appropriate technology.
- Evaluating the learning outcomes of our units of study to ensure that they contribute to students attaining the University’s Graduate Attributes of scholarship, global citizenship and lifelong learning.
- Ensuring that staff have access to professional development opportunities which enable them to absorb the latest developments in pedagogy, teaching practice and applications of technology, including e-Learning.
The Faculty has signed a compact with the University as part of its commitment to provision of high-quality teaching. The compact sets out targets for the results achieved in the Unit of Study Evaluations (USEs) that are undertaken each semester and analysed by the Institute for Teaching and Learning.
USEs gather student responses to a unit of study via response to a standardised set of statements about the unit. There is also ample opportunity for students to comment individually on their experience of a given unit of study.
The USE Standards Proposal endorsed by SEG (available from the Institute for Teaching and Learning) sets out minimum standards to be achieved by the Faculty's unit of study teaching teaching teams on Unit of Study Evaluations (USEs) each time they are run. That is, there should be no more than 20% student disagreement on overall satisfaction (item 12) of the USE. Collected data is evaluated by the Institute for Teaching and Learning and fed back to teaching staff in order to inform their teaching practice.
The current Compact has been developed in the light of the 2011 USE Performance Report, which provides data on all Faculty units surveyed in 2011. Those data have not been included on this website because they contain uninterpreted information about specific units of study.
While simple numerical student experience data should not by any means be considered the sole indicator of teaching excellence, it is a central element of the Commonwealth Government’s proposed national teaching performance indicator framework, and also of TEQSA’s approach to teaching standards. As such it provides a useful starting point for monitoring and continuously improving the quality of teaching and learning provided by the Faculty. The Faculty’s USE Compact will be reviewed and renewed each year with a view to refining our responses to students’ reported learning needs, and to implementing best practice in teaching delivery methods and technologies.
Download the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ USE Compact.