Smart Casual: Towards excellence in sessional teaching in law

Mary Heath, Anne Hewitt, Kate Galloway, Mark Israel, Claire Nettle, Natalie Skead, Alex Steel

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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The Smart Casual project was designed to create and disseminate resources to address a
demonstrated national need for discipline-specific professional development for sessional
law teachers.
Sessional staff deliver half of Australian tertiary teaching. The quality of that teaching is
crucial to student learning, retention and progress. Yet national research, as well as a needs
analysis conducted as part of the Smart Casual seed project, suggests that support and
training for sessional teachers remain inadequate.
Law confronts specific barriers in responding to this challenge. Discipline-specific skills and
content form substantial components of law curricula, which must meet nationally
mandated threshold learning outcomes and professional admission requirements. Sessional
law teachers are often time-poor legal practitioners or postgraduate researchers who bring
vital experience, commitment to quality teaching and professional networks to the students
they teach and the law schools in which they work. However, many are only weakly
connected to the tertiary sector, and levels of teaching experience and teaching
qualifications vary widely. This distinctive context demands discipline-specific sessional staff
training, but our needs analysis shows that individual law schools lack the expertise and
capacity to provide discipline-specific professional development.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherAustralian Government Department of Education and Training
Number of pages83
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-76051-354-2, 978-1-76051-355-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-76051-356-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

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