What constitutes teacher excellence in higher education? Literature Review of ‘Excellence in teaching and learning’

Concepts of excellence, like concepts of quality, are subject to debate. This was illustrated by the CHERI (2007) report and remains a valid observation. However, as well as continued operationalising of these contentious concepts since 2007, added urgency has arisen to engage with excellence in university teaching, especially in areas of the globe particularly affected by the economic downturn, Australia, USA, Europe. In the first two, the focus has been on restructuring quality processes with threshold standards becoming more fashionable at a national level and excellence being focused in terms of institutional concepts.   Within Europe there has been a re-emergence of the discourse around excellence in teaching to rebalance what has been a dominant rhetoric of excellence in research.  Additionally, as regional higher education hubs in the Caucasus, Middle East & Far East emerge they too are adopting and transforming approaches to excellence in teaching, particularly in their reward and recognition systems.

This project funded by the Higher Education Academy ultimately has three aims:

  1. To identify excellence in university teaching as it is expressed in a range of regions around the world in a meaningful way that relates directly to student learning experience;
  2. To enable institutions to frame teaching excellence in a manner that allows for reward and recognition of academics;
  3. To make clear links between aims 1 & 2 in terms of implications for policy and strategy at a variety of levels. 

Keep outputs:

  • Desk-based literature review –critical analysis of the literature since the publication of 2007 CHERI literature review ‘Excellence in teaching and learning: a review of the literature for the Higher Education Academy’ and develop a set of ‘indicators of teacher excellence’;
  • Case studies of how excellence has been ‘operationalised’ in a range of institutions since 2007.

PI: Dr Vicky Gunn, University of Glasgow, RA: Dr Anna Fisk

External Adviser: Professor Denise Chalmers, University of Western Australia


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