“The GradCert has reinvigorated my career in ways I would never have expected.”

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If you’re a University of Sydney educator looking to stay current with the latest in higher education principles, practices, and tools, consider enrolling in the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Higher Education). With the higher education landscape going through unprecedented changes, this program provides a safe space to explore new and enduring ideas for sound teaching and learning practice.   

To support the professional development of educators, this course is free for staff and official affiliates of the University who teach Sydney students or are involved in education-related work at the University. The full program is made up of four units, two each semester, and offers the flexibility of completing the program in a single year or over a number of semesters for those who prefer to take a single unit a semester.

The Grad Cert is an award-bearing program but more than that it is an opportunity to join a community and learn from colleagues in different parts of the University on effective approaches for varied teaching modes.  

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Educational Innovation, Professor Adam Bridgeman, says the program is a valuable way for teachers to gain new knowledge and skills they can apply to innovating their practices. “Participants will find the program both thought-provoking and practical, using an evidence-based approach to excellence in teaching. For Sydney staff, it’s additionally a great opportunity to connect with and gain insights from peers across the University,” says Professor Bridgeman.

In addition to graduating with a Graduate Certificate, all completing students will be supported to gain an internationally recognised status as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK. As a fellow, you become part of a growing global community that supports and recognises the importance of teaching and learning in higher education.

2 years after completing the GradCert, I am continuing to benefit through promotion success, conference presentations, research publications, and a fellowship that were all inspired by the Grad Cert – not to mention the many new friends

Bern Conlon from The University of Sydney Business School graduated in 2021. “The Grad Cert has reinvigorated my career in ways I would never have expected. It has introduced me to the education literature, and modern teaching techniques and provided a grounding in pedagogical theories of learning. This has allowed me to introduce innovative techniques into my own teaching and has led me to conduct my own pedagogical research.” In addition to the benefits of the Fellowship and the network he has built, Bern says that “the course also provides training in preparing a teaching case and applying for a promotion. I attribute my recent promotion directly to the skills learnt in the Grad Cert.” When asked about what he would say to colleagues considering the program, Bern said, “Don’t be afraid! I was highly cynical about the course but within 15 minutes of the first lecture, I was brimming with excitement at the potential benefits on offer. Over the remainder of the course, my hopes were more than realised and now, 2 years after completing the GradCert, I am continuing to benefit through promotion success, conference presentations, research publications, and a fellowship that were all inspired by the Grad Cert – not to mention the many new friends.”

Stephen George-Williams from the School of Chemistry, graduated in 2020, when asked if he would recommend the GradCert shared “Definitely, especially for novices. SoTL is incredibly dense, with a lot of new language and frameworks to unpack. The Grad Cert is a very accessible way to start this journey, supported by some fantastic and enthusiastic experts in the field.” noting that even for experienced educators like Stephen the GradCert is still valuable “Having completed a PhD in Chemistry Education, I did already know much of the material presented. However, it was great to reinforce this knowledge as well as to network with academics across the university.”

James Kite from the Sydney School of Public Health and Charles Perkins Centre graduated in 2021. “The Grad Cert has had a profound impact on me, particularly in how it helped me to realise what principles and values underpin what I teach and the way that I teach it.”  In speaking to the current GradCert cohort James shared an example around valuing critical reflection, “it took the GradCert for me to realise that it is one thing to value [critical thinking] and another to teach it. I now explicitly teach students how to do it [critical thinking]”.    

Check out the Sydney Courses pages to find out more about the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Higher Education) or the Sydney Professional Certificate (Foundations in Higher Education). These pages will also allow you to commence your application for enrolment. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the program director, Eszter Kalman.

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