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NCTU Establishes the First Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
The Professional Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Advance Higher Education (AdvanceHE) Program is co-designed by National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) and AdvanceHE in the United Kingdom (UK). The opening ceremony of the second professional certificate program was held on the 2nd September, 2019. This year, a total of 25 participants, including those from National Taiwan University (NTU) and National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) gather at NCTU and work together to promote high-quality professional practice in teaching and support student learning. The ultimate aim is to achieve excellence in teaching and learning in Taiwanese higher education.

The Certificate of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (CLTHE) has been specifically customized and designed for NCTU by consultants from the Advance HE in the UK. This year, the CLTHE program is co-delivered by NCTU and the AdvanceHE Global Consultancy team from the Academy of Learning and Teaching at Queensland University of Technology (QALT) in Australia. The workshop aims to enable the participants to critically appraise and improve their teaching approaches, to explore current theories and models of pedagogical practices in higher education, to evaluate and reflect on teaching effectiveness, to engage in collaborative observation, reflection, and sharing of scholarship activity, and to gain insight into the current state of professional development of higher education in the international sector.

Professor Abby Cathcart, Director of QALT, indicated that QALT has successfully helped over 700 higher education professionals obtain the AdvanceHE fellowships since the establishment of the center only four years ago. In addition, their team has coached several universities in Asia to build programs that develop individual fellowship schemes for excellence in teaching and learning. Professor Henry Horng-Shing Lu, Vice President for Academic Affairs of NCTU, said that through such an international collaboration, we are able to promote effective practices in learning and teaching among our Taiwanese higher education educators and Ph.D. students, and at the same time earn international recognition in quality teaching.

Professor Sin-Horng Chen, Acting President of NCTU, said that Taiwanese higher education has long emphasized strongly on university faculty’s research capacity and neglected the equally important role of their teaching competence. “In the past, speaking of teaching quality, we often emphasized students’ learning qualities; however, we rarely focused on the educators’ professional development. If educators do not know what the most effective teaching methods are, it goes without saying that it would be impossible for them to offer students quality teaching and learning environment.”

The British higher education training and certification program sets an exemplary model. In the UK, having a Ph.D. degree only shows one’s professional knowledge but does not guarantee the teaching quality. Junior faculty members are required to enroll in the postgraduate certificate program in the professional development of learning and teaching in order to enhance their teaching practices. Advance HE provides the required professional recognition in learning and teaching for higher education educators internationally. Advance HE and its global partners also provide customized programs to meet different needs for higher education institutions.

This year, NCTU formally established a preparatory office of Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (CETL-HE). It is noted that seven faculty members from NCTU, who have completed last year’s certificate program and have been successfully awarded AdvanceHE fellowships, volunteered to serve as the seeded trainers for this year’s program. They will actively participate in this year’s workshop and accumulate practical experience to ensure the training quality of the forthcoming workshops which are to be held by CETL-HE, NCTU independently.

National Chiao Tung University takes the lead in introducing the internationally recognized training program of AdvanceHE to Taiwan, in the hope of developing appropriate procedures for Teaching Certificate and Accreditation Program not only for NCTU but for all Taiwan’s higher education professionals. The ultimate goal of CETL-HE is to independently provide a professional development program in learning and teaching to faculty members or P.h.D. students and to help them gain an international recognition (Advance HE fellowship) of their quality teaching practices.