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6. Recognition and Development of Teaching Excellence

6.1 Approach

6.1.1 Quality of teaching hinges on teachers’ commitment to teaching and opportunities for professional development. Setting criteria for assessing teaching performance and recognition of teaching excellence are important for QA and QE in T&L.

6.2 Recognition and reward of good teaching

Staff performance review

6.2.1 Teaching performance is one of the key aspects for staff performance review in human resource events such as contract renewal, tenure and promotion.  In the PRD exercise, the criteria for assessing teaching performance have been refined to include relevant data on teaching undertaken such as student feedback on courses and teaching and peer evaluations; professional development in teaching; leadership/participation in teaching-related activities such as curriculum design/development, pedagogy and assessment improvement/innovation, and academic advising; and awards in recognition of teaching excellence or other contributions to education. Staff members, in consultation with their Head of Department, can elect to weight the four aspects of performance (viz. T&L, research and scholarship, knowledge exchange and service/administration) differentially within the specified ranges.

Teaching awards

6.2.2 The Teaching Excellence Award Scheme (TEAS) aims to recognise, reward and promote excellence in teaching at the University (Appendix 6.1).  Under TEAS, there are four awards, viz. the University Distinguished Teaching Award (UDTA), Outstanding Teaching Award (OTA), Teaching Innovation Award (TIA) and Early Career Teaching Award (ECTA). In addition to individual awards, both OTA and TIA grant team awards to recognise and encourage collaborative effort and achievement in enhancing T&L. All staff members and students are encouraged to nominate teachers who have made outstanding T&L contributions for these awards. All Faculties also have their own teaching award schemes.

6.2.3 The University nominates TEA winners for the UGC Teaching Award which was launched in 2011 to signal the importance placed by the UGC on quality T&L in the higher education sector. The UGC Teaching Award Scheme comprises three categories, viz. General Faculty Members, Early Career Faculty Members, and Teams.

6.3 Professional development and support for teaching staff

6.3.1 Professional development for teaching staff, including leadership development courses, is organised mainly by CETL. The mission of CETL is to work across the University to enhance the quality of teaching and student learning experience. CETL provides support in operationalising the institutional T&L strategies and meets the needs of a diverse range of academics at different stages of their career. It engages with Faculties in various forms of activities as outlined below:

  • providing programmes for the preparation and development of teaching staff from those new to teaching (e.g., Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education for postgraduate teaching assistants across Faculties) to early-mid career academics (e.g., a. Professional Certificate in Leading Teaching and in Higher Education and b. Fellowship applications to Advance Higher Education);
  • sharing good practices through engagement across the University, e.g. professional development seminars, workshops and conferences, and seminars for showcasing good teaching practices arising from the Teaching Exchange Fellowship Scheme, HKU and UGC teaching awards and TDG projects;
  • organising voluntary continuing professional development events in alignment with the University’s developing strategic priorities for teaching and learning, primarily for HKU teaching staff, but also inviting, where appropriate, international and regional guest speakers;
  • offering seminars and workshops on e-learning in collaboration with TELI and EPSU and providing an open online course “University Teaching” in partnership with Coursera;
  • assisting Faculties with the interpretation of data collected through SLEQ-UG and SLEQ-TPG so as to inform their T&L planning;
  • assisting Faculties in developing PLOs, CLOs, grade descriptors, PLOAP and PLOAR in implementing OBASL;
  • collaborating across Faculties and at University level in the incubation, reviewing and monitoring of TDG projects;
  • conducting research which underpins an evidence-based approach to teaching, learning and curriculum design and strengthens the teaching-research nexus;
  • coordinating the establishment of communities of practice as an effective platform to engage staff in discussing and sharing good T&L practices across the University; and
  • responding to Faculty needs through other modes of engagement, as required.

6.3.2 Other supporting units, such as Libraries, TELI, ITS and Human Resources, also offer professional development opportunities in their expert areas.  Moreover, Faculties and departments offer their own programmes for development and support.

6.3.3 In addition, staff development is facilitated by continuing professional development grants, teaching development and conference grants, professional leave, sabbatical leave, different fellowship and visiting programmes.  For instance, the Teaching Exchange Fellowship Scheme aims to enhance the scholarship of teaching at the University through sharing of experience and collaborating on teaching and curriculum development initiatives at reputable universities where excellent pedagogical practices or curriculum innovation are being implemented, and facilitating reciprocal visits to the University by academic staff of these institutions. The Scheme is a measure also to ensure that the University’s curriculum and pedagogy are benchmarked against international best practice.

6.4 Teaching Development Grant

6.4.1 The University’s TDG Scheme, supported mainly by Teaching Development and Language Enhancement Grant allocated by the UGC, underlines the University’s commitment to furthering its mission in T&L (Appendix 6.2).  The grants are intended to support projects and activities that will have an impact on the strategic development and promotion of T&L.

6.4.2 A TDG system, including a resources hub, has been developed to facilitate online applications and administration of the Scheme, and to facilitate a greater sharing of TDG resources.  Grant holders are required to disseminate TDG project deliverables and outcomes through uploading the findings and deliverables on the TDG Resources Hub (, and presenting their work to the University community, in the form of seminars, workshops or other events organised by CETL. They are also encouraged to consider other additional means of disseminating project findings and good practices within and outside the University.