Values framework tool

Project Active Published by on the 16 January 2020

Project title: A values-framework and self-assessment tool to improve tertiary academic leadership

Application (abbreviated):

The Practice Problem

How often is a professional decision or judgement made with an implicitly integrated reference to values? Always. How often do we find emotional satisfaction (or discomfort) from our professional leadership because of a resonance (or dissonance) with our own personal values? Always. Yet, how often do we consciously interrogate and utilise our values to inform our professional decisions or judgments? Probably somewhat less often. How much professional development or training overtly surfaces these ‘elephants in the room’ to empower us to make better professional decisions or judgments? Little. There is considerable scholarly and research evidence, together with the evidence of our daily experience, which strongly suggests that it is not only desirable for us to integrate values into our practice decisions, it is necessary. This project will help us to do so mindfully.

The Innovation of the Project

As leaders and educators of future leaders, universities and university teachers are well-positioned to assist in achieving a commitment to professional development (for ourselves, our colleagues and our students) that overtly and consciously integrates values. Indeed, the potential impact of a project that is initiated at the CAULLT level of university teaching is significant and potentially transformational across the tertiary sector because CAULLT is uniquely positioned to allow the project outcomes to influence others in a progressive cascade: ourselves (as leaders); other academic developers; university teachers; future university teachers; school teachers; future leaders – and every student.

If we can recognise that values are so fundamentally integral to our professional efficacy, our emotional wellbeing, our sense of satisfaction and achievement, and if we know in our hearts as well as our minds that they are an implicit guide to ‘making a difference’ and ‘doing the right thing’, then as leaders we have the moral and professional imperative to act in ways that improve our ability to be consciously aware of these values, and to use them consciously in our professional and personal lives.

The project meets most directly the CAULLT Mission for the following criteria:

  • Fostering collaboration among central organisational units within higher education institutions which carry formal responsibility for academic development to disseminate and share knowledge and expertise in relation to their practices for advancing learning and teaching in higher education, and to establish and monitor performance benchmarks.

Creating and supporting professional development, career development, and networking opportunities for Australia’s community of academic developers.

Project Methods

This project is fundamentally founded on scholarship, but integrates an empirical component based on grounded theory. It is designed to proceed through 5 progressive phases, each with deliverables.
1. A literature scan has already commenced to ensure that the arguments above are appropriately embedded in, and informed by, extant scholarly literature. The first budget item is a small amount of research assistance to expedite this process, and to make the total of “in-kind” contributions from the project team more manageable. Ethical approval of the project will also be incorporated in this phase.
2. Phase two involves informal peer exploration of the project’s ideas. The project team already have a full paper accepted at the forthcoming AARE conference in December. Funding associated with this part of the project is one of the in-kind contributions. The paper presents the ideas above to a broad academic audience and invites responses about the values they use to inform practice in Higher Education. The responses may challenge, broaden and/or validate the considerations introduced above. Regardless, the feedback from this paper will help refine the following phase.
3. Phase 3 involves the development and administration of a survey of CAULLT members. The survey will invite members to identify and rank values that are implicit in responses to hypothetical leadership challenge scenarios (between 3-5), and will collect further real examples of leadership challenges. In this way the project collates and ranks values used to inform practice by established leaders in higher education. The second budget item is a small amount of buy-out for marking undertaken by one of the project team (Dr Alison Owens). This will help to liberate some of the time needed to develop the survey and to collate/evaluate responses.
4. Phase 4 involves developing an on-line ‘self-assessment tool’ for use by leaders in higher education. The tool will take the form of a self-assessment quiz presenting leadership challenges through scenarios. It then invites users to write their own personal responses and guides users to identify values that are implicit. Users will then be invited to compare and contrast their ‘values profile’ with the aggregate profile of established leaders in Higher Education. Users of this tool will not only be more consciously aware of their own values, but will reflect upon the similarities and differences between values they used and values used by others in leadership roles. There is no judgment of a person’s responses as “right” or “wrong”. Rather, the process enhances a person’s metacognition as part of a learning journey leading to more mindful application of values to inform better judgments.
5. Lastly, the project team will produce a final report and present the findings to a CAULLT conference as well as promote the tool through Australian HE sector.

Project Outcomes

This project is expected to help higher education leaders and practitioners to:

  • Become more aware of the central relevance of values to informing good practice in teaching, learning and working effectively in all disciplines and sectors of education.
  • Become more self-aware in terms of their values base.

Self-identify relevant and valuable professional learning needs and opportunities.

Project Updates

  • Survey: values-based leadership

    Published by on the 6 July 2020

    All professional judgements in higher education are informed by values, if only implicitly. Decision-makers in higher education may find emotional satisfaction (or discomfort) from professional leadership because of a resonance (or dissonance) with our own personal values. This CAULLT project encourages you to interrogate these personal values as they inform your judgments.

    As leaders and educators of future leaders, universities and university teachers are well-positioned to assist in achieving a commitment to professional development (for ourselves, our colleagues and our students) that overtly and consciously integrates values. This project seeks your experiential input to help higher education leaders and practitioners to:

    • Become more aware of the central relevance of values to informing good practice in teaching, learning and working effectively in all disciplines and sectors of education.
    • Become more self-aware in terms of their values base
    • Self-identify relevant and valuable professional learning needs and opportunities.

    This survey asks you to describe a brief scenario from your practice that compels us to consult our personal values. We intend to collate these (anonymous) scenarios into an online self-assessment tool and you will be the first to ‘use’ this tool in a second survey when we share these scenarios and ask you to develop an ethically considered response. Your valuable experiences in this domain as leaders in teaching and learning will thereby inform an online resource to support values-based practice in higher education.

    Follow this link to the Survey:
    Take the Survey

    Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
    https://acu.qualtrics.com/jfe/preview/SV_1BajKYky1JAarVr?Q_CHL=preview

    For more details here is the Participant Information Letter  

  • New CAULLT project

    Published by on the 17 January 2020

    Duncan Nulty (ACU) is the lead researcher on a new CAULLT-funded project titled A values-framework and self-assessment tool to improve tertiary academic leadership.

    This project is expected to help higher education leaders and practitioners to:

    • Become more aware of the central relevance of values to informing good practice in teaching, learning and working effectively in all disciplines and sectors of education.
    • Become more self-aware in terms of their values base.
    • Self-identify relevant and valuable professional learning needs and opportunities.

    More details here