Professor Jillian Hamilton
Professor Jillian Hamilton is Associate Director: Academic Development at QUT; is Course Coordinator of QUT’s Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice; and leads the Sessional Success Suite of academic development programs. She taught in Art and Design in the Creative Industries Faculty for over a decade before assuming this senior leadership role. Jillian is a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), and has been recognised by an Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT) Program Award; AAUT Teaching Excellence Award; AAUT Citation; Benchmarking Leadership for Sessional Teaching (BLASST) Award for Institutional Excellence; Higher Education Research Network’s Best Publication Award; and several university teaching excellence awards. She has led OLT projects on HDR supervision, has 8 PhD completions, and is a regular PhD examiner as well as an international course quality assurer.
Michelle Fox is a Lecturer in Academic Development at QUT and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA (SFHEA). Having taught in QUT’s International College and Creative Industries Faculty for many years, she now leads QUT’s Effective Communication in face to face and online environments subjects and coordinates the Sessional Academic Success Program. She has received institutional and national recognition for innovative approaches that motivate learners to adapt and thrive through reflective practice, drawing on their strengths, building confidence, and initiating academic identity formation, including an AAUT Program Award, AAUT Citation and BLASST Award.
Much progress has been made in recent years in more deeply engaging students in their learning through strategies that actively recruit students as partners in curriculum design, afford opportunities for the co-creation of content, and build leadership and support through peer programs. In this paper, we consider how a distributed leadership approach can cohere these pedagogical strategies into a model we call reciprocal learning, in which students lead by contributing learning resources into future curriculum. We outline a model and principles for this ‘strengths based’ approach and what it might include, such as enabling students to contribute exemplars of high achieving assessments; developing content or topic summaries, and offering advice to future cohorts. We illustrate these approaches through examples from across programs and levels in multimodal artefacts including postcards, guides, interviews, instructible videos, and infographics.
We discuss the benefits of reciprocal learning to those who contribute such resources; such as deepening and consolidating their learning, increased confidence through recognition, and the agency to positively influence future curriculum and their peers. At the same time, we discuss the beneficiaries of this virtuous circle–future students who gain enriched curriculum; are inspired by exemplary practices of past cohorts and motivated by their modeling; relate to the trusted voices of successful peers who echo and reinforce the curriculum; and gain insights into proven strategies for transposing curriculum materials and activities into achieving the subject’s learning outcomes.