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UniSQ and CQUniversity set to “lift” academic staff capability with Advance HE

19 Feb 2024 | Advance HE In a ground-breaking collaboration, two of Australia's leading regional universities have joined forces to establish a comprehensive staff development programme.
Lift presentation
Advance HE Chief Executive Alison Johns, CQUniversity's Associate Lecturer Marie Foreman, UniSQ's Associate Professor Ian Davis, and CQUniversity's Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp at the Lift accreditation event at CQUniversity Rockhampton North

CQUniversity Australia and the University of Southern Queensland's (UniSQ), joint staff development program, known as ‘Lift’, has now been accredited by Advance HE. 

Both universities may now award Advance HE Fellowships to successful program participants. Fellowship recognises teaching excellence aligned to the Professional Standards Framework and an ongoing commitment to continuous professional development. The accreditation period is for four years and includes, Associate, Fellow and Senior Fellow categories. 

Spearheaded by UniSQ’s Associate Professor Ian Davis and CQUniversity’s Professor Kate Ames, the concept for the innovative program spawned as part of Professor Ames' mentorship by Associate Professor Davis through her Principal Fellowship in 2021.

UniSQ’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie welcomed the collaboration, stating, "This joint effort symbolises our commitment to advancing the learning and teaching capabilities of academic staff across our two institutions, while enhancing the overall student experience for those studying in regional areas. I look forward to working with CQUniversity and Advance HE as this exciting staff development program progresses.” 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp of CQUniversity echoed these sentiments, by saying that the program was further evidence of innovative collaboration among regional universities. "As leading regional institutions, UniSQ and CQUniversity are keenly focused on maintaining and sustaining our academic workforces well into the future, to ensure our world-class teaching and research capabilities benefit many generations to come. This innovative collaboration with Advance HE will bolster the capabilities of our academic workforce and lead to improved staff attraction, retention and succession.”

Over an 18-month accreditation period, a dedicated team from both universities meticulously developed and solidified the processes and approach for the Lift program. The name "Lift" was chosen to encapsulate the shared commitment to uplifting individuals on their academic journeys. 

Alison Johns, Advance HE, Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that these two valued Advance HE member organisations have successfully achieved accreditation of this exciting and innovative approach to staff development. It’s particularly pleasing to present the accreditation certificates to both Universities today – congratulations to them both and we wish them every success with the Lift program.

“Advance HE works with our members across the globe, including more than 30 member institutions in Australia, to support higher education providers in their enhancement work and this collaboration is a fantastic illustration of how sharing innovation and practice can ultimately improve the academic experience for students. We are delighted to be a part of this staff-led push to build capacity and capability at UniSQ and CQUniversity, and look forward to seeing the results of our upcoming efforts.”

Professor Kate Ames highlighted the fundamental pillars of the scheme, emphasising, "Reflection, mentoring, support, and peer review are at the core of our program. Witnessing our exceptional staff embrace this opportunity and take on added responsibilities has been truly rewarding. The green light to proceed is a testament to what we can achieve through collaborative efforts."

Associate Professor Ian Davis said the ability to combine resources across institutions would help the Lift program achieve scale. “UniSQ possesses significant mentoring expertise, while CQUniversity has large numbers of existing Fellows to assist with support and evaluation. Both institutions are committed to supporting academic staff across their careers, and Advance HE’s global expertise provides a great foundation for our efforts.” 

Lift is poised to set a new standard in staff development initiatives in Australia, representing a unique joint independent accredited scheme that evaluates and awards Fellows within the cultural and practice environments of the participating universities. The program will feature collaborative panels, with the first session scheduled for April, marking a significant milestone in this pioneering partnership.

There are more than 183,000 Fellows world-wide including over 7,400 in Australia. To date, CQU and UniSQ have 201 Fellowships between them. 

Advance HE has been working with institutions in Australasia for over ten years. Its work with members is guided by its Australasian Strategic Advisory Board. Advance HE has worked with SAGE to offer the Athena SWAN gender equity charter in Australia. 43 institutions have achieved an Athena SWAN Bronze award in Australia to date. 

Advance HE's CEO, Alison Johns, is currently visiting members and other HE stakeholders in Australia.


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