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

Please scroll down to access a range of resources that follow some information on the pedagogical research and module analysis that inspired SALT's '7Cs' programme, 2017-19.

The Background Evidence - Module Feedback

SALT analysed free text comments offered by students in their feedback of over 200 modules. Areas of improved practice were able to be identified, defined by:-

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

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 students' comments related to the lecturer, how they interacted with the student cohort and the teaching methods and tools they employed.

The Seven Principles of Undergraduate Education

Chickering & Gamson (1987, 1991)

Lots of the comments in the module feedback 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, good undergraduate teachers ...

  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 provide a useful starting point for reflection by staff at Swansea University, inspiring continual professional development in learning and teaching through the seminars, workshops and resources generated by them. 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 its third year. Details of registration for face to face events 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. However, we now have a rich bank of resources built up from events held over the past two years, which we feel can help meet a demand for more flexible, sustainable CPD resources that staff tell us they would like the freedom to to engage with, in addition to face to face events.

CPD Resources from your office or mobile device

Most 7Cs events were/are accompanied by a video recording, blog or both, which can be accessed through easy to navigate buttons within this page. This page therefore aims to currently provide you with access to two years' worth of programme resources that you can engage with asynchronously. All 7Cs seminars and workshops are aimed at a multi-disciplinary audience, so that shared experience can inspire and support pedagogical development.

2018/19 Events

2018's 7Cs programme launched in October with Prof. Richard Owen (HRC School of Law) explaining how he applied 'Experiential Learning' within his own field, how this approach meets several of the 7Cs and how it could be applied in other disciplines.

November's 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 with the feedback process. Dr Joanne Berry presented on 'Feedback Journals'.

January's event was held at The Bay Campus, 'Dynamism, conversation and challenge: Using active learning and assessment to engage passive learners' and 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.

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

March's 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 in May. 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 Events

The inaugural 7Cs seminar took place in November at the Bay Campus, 'Lightboard in Engineering' , led by Dr Richard Cobley and Dr Karen Ennser. (Blog and Video Recording here)

The second was at the Singleton Campus in February 'Closing the Gap' withScenario-Based Learning, led by Jon Hinkin. (Blog and Video Recording here)

The third, on 'Audio Feedback' took place at the Singleton Campus in March, led by Sandy George and Pete Hanratty from Swansea University's Centre for Academic Success. (Blog and Video Recording here)

The fourth and fifth, in April and May, showed how 'The Use of Archives in Teaching and Learning' at Swansea University's Richard Burton Archives - can help teachers meet several of the seven characteristics in practical, creative and enjoyable ways. We have curated a 'Padlet' of articles and resources on the use of archives in learning and teaching.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) & 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.

TEL Tools also align to UCL's ABC Approach to Learning Design. Here is a Padlet of tools linked to Diana Laurillard's 'Six Types of Learning', that underpin the approach (and complement Chickering and Gamson's seven principles).


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, face to face sessions to attend (or watch recordings of) as well as other support and development resources. SALT 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.

Finally, here is the link to our Website home page. The SALT team are happy to help if you need any direction in finding what you need, so please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need to (details under 'contact us').

Swansea Graduates 2017

If you would like to deliver a 'Seven Characteristics of a Good University Teacher' seminar or workshop, or provide feedback on any of the resources you have engaged with, please contact Rhian Ellis, Academic Developer at SALT.

Email : r.e.ellis@swansea.ac.uk

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

Created By
Rhian Ellis


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