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(2009) Russell, Carol; Spralja, ZlatkoConference PaperThe University of New South Wales introduced interviews for undergraduate admissions in 2006. This was one of several initiatives to broaden engineering study and move from focusing on traditional academic knowledge towards building ability in professional engineering design problem solving. We analysed interview and 1st year academic results for 600 FEAS applicants who subsequently became undergraduate engineering students at the University. The analyses show that that student success overall is still strongly related to theoretical skills, despite curriculum change initiatives. Other studies suggest a potential explanation: established engineering academic value systems are hard to shift. Both the interviews and undergraduate coursework assessment are conducted mainly by academic researchers who have themselves successfully come through a traditional engineering education. The results of this study have not only suggested how to improve the interview processes, but have also provided quantitative evidence of the systemic mechanisms that sustain established learning and teaching practices.
Evidence-based narratives to reconcile academic disciplines with the scholarship of teaching and learning(2009) Quinnell, Rosanne; Russell, Carol; Thompson, Rachel; Nancy, Marshall; Cowley, JillConference PaperA raft of models and definitions of SoTL exist and the best appear to transcend disciplinary contexts, and are sufficiently robust for academics to measure scholarly practices. Critical engagement with the scholarly literature is necessary for academics to gain a realistic view of where their work practices are situated within the scholarly domain. Because academic staff are disciplinary experts they are best placed to comment on whether the models of scholarship describe the scholarship of learning and teaching within the context of their own disciplines as well as within the confines of the Australian higher education sector. This paper pushes the existing debates on reconciling what evidence of scholarship in the disciplines actually is and what is considered valid, and in doing so uncovers why the process of reconciliation, between current practice and supporting evidence, remains elusive. Higher education academics need to identify and reconcile tacit disciplinary knowledge with their SoTL approach in order to unpack the complexity and value of their practices. Enabling academic staff to annotate their activities, roles and accomplishments and then map these items onto the various models of scholarship will enrich the status of scholarship of teaching and learning within the higher education sector.