Scholarly Teaching Fellows as a new category of employment in Australian universities: impacts and prospects for teaching and learning : final report

James Goodman*, Kaye Broadbent, Tony Brown, Nour Dados, Anne Junor, Glenda Strachan, Keiko Yasukawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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In recent years a new type of teaching-focused academic position has emerged in the university system, the ‘Scholarly Teaching Fellow’ (STF). These continuing positions are designed to replace casual teachers, and to enable a more ‘sustained’ engagement with scholarship as required under Commonwealth higher education standards. There has been a growing reliance on casual academics to deliver university courses, and the rise of the ‘gig’ academic has undermined scholarship as well as job security. In 2012 the sector’s lead trade union, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), proposed a novel approach to extend teaching capacity and provide job security for a portion of the estimated 50,000 casual university teaching staff. By creating a career path for the casual academics who currently perform the bulk of face-to-face teaching in Australian universities, it was envisaged that not only would casual academics benefit from enhanced job security, but that the employment of more continuing staff would improve teaching and learning and enhance the student experience. Between 2012 and 2015, industrial agreements negotiated between the NTEU and the majority of the sector’s universities led to a commitment to create 850 positions for a new type of academic role: the Scholarly Teaching Fellow (STF). Around 800 of these positions had been created by August 2018. This research, funded as a ‘Strategic Project’ by the former Office of Learning and Teaching, examined the introduction of STFs into the Australian university system between 2013 and 2016. The project explored the impact of this new category of employment in Australian universities on the organisation and future prospects of academic work.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Education, Skills and Employment
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Education (Commonwealth)
Number of pages80
ISBN (Print)9781760519773
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Academic staff attitudes
  • Academic staff development
  • Academic staff university relationship
  • Australia
  • Higher education
  • Interviews
  • Learning
  • Postsecondary education
  • Teaching effectiveness
  • Teaching methods
  • Universities
  • University administration
  • University role
  • University teaching


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