An exploration of the possible relationship between reward and recognition and teaching excellence in higher education

Warnes, Mark (2019) An exploration of the possible relationship between reward and recognition and teaching excellence in higher education. In: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Palma, Spain.

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In this paper, I present preliminary findings from a research project investigating the possible relationship between reward and recognition (via Teaching Fellowships) and teaching excellence.Having developed a model of teaching excellence, I interviewed five recipients of National Teaching Fellowships, and 21 recipients of University Teaching Fellowships at three UK universities. I asked participants to offer personal definitions of teaching excellence, to comment on the fit of the model to their lived experience, and to explain their motives for achieving excellence in teaching. I also asked them to discuss the impact receipt of the award had on them, their colleagues, their managers, and their students. Findings show that reward and recognition schemes have little impact on recipients beyond the initial ceremonial elation, and, in extreme cases, are reduced to little more than email signature decorations. Similarly, they have no motivational effect, and teaching excellence is an almost entirely driven by intrinsic drives, either to be excellent regardless of the undertaking or, more frequently, an altruistic drive to facilitate students’ development to reach their full potential. Crucially, awards have no impact at all on the student experience. Since they are retrospective awards, students already have an excellent teaching experience which doesn’t become any more excellent as a result of a Teaching Excellence award. Indeed, in the vast majority of cases, students are entirely unaware of the award. This challenges the primary discourse around reward and recognition schemes for teaching excellence, which is that they are, in and of themselves, highly valuable.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Faculty: Support Services
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 15:55
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2022 15:14

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