Seven Characteristics of a Good University Teacher Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) - Seminar and Workshop Programme - Swansea University

The Background Evidence - Module Feedback

SALT recently analysed free text comments in module feedback. 'Areas of improvement' were identified, defined as:-

  • An increase in first class marks
  • A decrease in failure rates
  • Above average marks

Over 200 modules were analysed. Whilst it is difficult to determine the exact reasons behind identified improvement, it is clear that when asked the question...

'What is the best thing about this module?'

...many of the comments related to the lecturer, how they interact with the student cohort and the teaching methods and tools they employ.

The Seven Principles of Undergraduate Education

Chickering & Gamson (1987;1991)

Lots of the comments in the module feedback inadvertently related to 'The Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education' published in an 1987 article by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, later published in a 1991 book 'Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Higher Education'. The principles grew out of a review of 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn, supported by the American Association for Higher Education, the Education Commission of the States and The Johnson Foundation.

This short video explains the principles in a little more detail

To recap...

  1. Encourage contact between students and faculty
  2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students
  3. Encourage active learning
  4. Communicate high expectations
  5. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning
  6. Emphasise time on task
  7. Give prompt feedback

The principles are...

''intended as guidelines for faculty members, students and administrators....to improve teaching and learning. These principles seem like good common sense, and they are - because many teachers and students have experienced them and because research supports them. They rest on 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn, how students work and play with one another, and how students and faculty talk to each other.'' (Chickering and Gamson, 1987, p1)

The principles still provide a useful starting point for reflection by staff at Swansea University, inspiring continual development in learning and teaching through the seminar and workshop programme, as well as a range of other CPD opportunities.

The button below links to a fuller account of Chickering and Gamson's work, along with some examples of how the principles can be implemented in teaching, learning and assessment.

Where to find out about events ...

SALT's Seven Characteristics of a Good University Teacher (7Cs for short) seminar & workshop programme is now in it's second year. Events are held once a month on Wednesdays, 13:00-14:00 at a range of locations at Swansea University. Details of registration for an event can be found on this page, as well as:-

  • SALT's Website (Upcoming Events)
  • Emails from SALT Leads to all staff in each School or College
  • Swansea University daily staff communications bulletin (emailed to all staff)
  • Swansea University Digi boards
  • Swansea University Events Calendar (weekly email and SU website)
  • SALT's Twitter account @susaltteam

The seminars and workshops aim to illustrate successful implementation of the principles, providing inspiration and support for academic staff wishing to further develop learning and teaching in their area. The success of the 2017/8 programme has prompted continuation and development into 2018/9. This year's programme will feature themes suggested in feedback from previous seminar and workshop attendees. For example:-

'how can we get our students to engage in feedback?'

(comment from March 2018)

All 7Cs seminars and workshops are aimed at a multi-disciplinary audience, so that shared experience can inspire and support pedagogical development.

2018/19 7Cs Events

This year's 7Cs programme begun with Prof. Richard Owen (HRC School of Law) explaining how 'Experiential Learning' has been applied within his own field, how this method meets several of the 7Cs and how it could be applied in other disciplines.

The second session arose from the discussion that followed last year's 'Audio Feedback' session, when attendees asked for more events featuring examples of tried and tested strategies that encourage students to engage in the feedback process. On Wednesday November 14th 1-2pm Dr Joanne Berry presented on 'Feedback Journals'.

The third 7Cs event was held at The Bay Campus, on Wednesday January 16th. 'Dynamism, conversation and challenge: Using active learning and assessment to engage passive learners' was led by Dr Patricia Xavier, from Swansea University's College of Engineering. This event was particularly helpful for those looking for ways to introduce active learning and improve student engagement in large groups.

On the 20th February, a session was held featuring Swansea University's Blended Learning Pilot. This session illustrated how a blended learning approach respects diverse talent and ways of learning. This session was led by Melanie Hainke and Eve Moriarty.

March 6th seminar at Singleton campus was led by Dr Nigel Francis, Swansea University School of Medicine, who shared his journey leading up to 'flipping a module', with an overview of noticeable results. Nigel believes 'flipping' has helped him become a better teacher, so his session was entitled 'Becoming a Better Teacher - A Flipped Approach'

This session was also delivered by Nigel as part of SALT's 'TEL CPD Week' at The Bay campus on May 15th. The Singleton campus session was filmed and is now available to watch via the SALT blog below or directly here through E-STREAM/SALT TV .

2017-8 '7Cs' Events

The first seminar took place in November 2017 at the Bay Campus, 'Lightboard in Engineering' (blog and video recording here).

The second was at the Singleton Campus in February 2018, 'Closing the Gap' with Scenario-Based Learning (blog and video recording here).

The third, on 'Audio Feedback' took place at the Singleton Campus in March 2018 (blog and video recording here).

The fourth and fifth, in April and May 2018, showed how 'The Use of Archives in Teaching and Learning' - namely Swansea University's Richard Burton Archives - can help teachers meet several of the seven characteristics in practical, creative and enjoyable ways. More resources to come soon!

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), SALT Pedagogical CPD & the 7Cs

The use of Technology Enhanced Learning , or 'TEL', has the potential to embrace all seven principles. This shows that while teaching and learning methods have evolved since the time of Chickering and Gamson's work, the principles remain relevant, even to new ways of doing things.

SALT'S website contains support on a range of ways in which technology can be used effectively in higher education teaching and learning, with lots of links to the 7Cs. Combined with more traditional pedagogy, Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) can enhance engagement in learning, and foster good relationships between learners and teachers in higher education. See Resources>Technology.

SALT provides a wide range of additional, pedagogical CPD opportunities to Swansea University staff e.g. Open Door, Inclusivity, Flipped Learning. There are online courses, sessions to attend (or watch the recordings of) and support and developement resources. SALT's CPD can help enable Swansea University teachers, new and experienced, to excel in the 7Cs.

Courses are mapped to the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework for Higher Education (UKPSF) and are thus helpful for Higher Education Fellowship application. SALT is also piloting Open Digital Badges upon completion of some courses.

Swansea Graduates 2017

For more information on attending or delivering on the 'Seven Characteristics of a Good University Teacher' seminar and workshop programme, or for enquiries about any other CPD opportunities, please contact Rhian Ellis or Simon Gibbon at SALT (details below).

Email : r.e.ellis@swansea.ac.uk / s.gibbon@swansea.ac.uk

Follow SALT on Twitter : @susaltteam #susaltcpd ; Follow Rhian on Twitter :@rhianellis3 ; Follow Simon on Twitter: @gibbonsimon

Created By
Rhian Ellis


Created with images by FeeBeeDee - "seven 2" • senjinpojskic - "connect jigsaw strategy"

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