Topic: Managing sessional staff

Stories from Australian academics in unit coordination roles that touch on the topic of managing sessional staff – casual tutors & demonstrators.

Let go and delegate

I commenced here as a sessional lecturer in music and after three years was offered unit coordination of the foundation units. Supportive senior people, including an ‘unofficial’ mentor helped with my transition but, although I had a clear understanding of … More…

Research is ‘front and centre’

I teach the first core law unit that students study as part of their course. Between 600 and 800 students enrol each semester. To deliver lectures I employ up to five full-time academics, and more than 10 sessional staff to … More…

Leading others in the school

This Unit Coordinator describes her work with numerous part time, experienced teaching staff. She describes her successful strategies to ensure consistency across the teaching units. Her strategy to combine her teaching and research interests is also mentioned.
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Give and take

With the flexibility and autonomy that the role provides, this coordinator has organised his role so that everyone ‘wins’ – himself, his students and the course. More…

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I am not an expert

This experienced coordinator has developed a teaching philosophy that has successfully engaged her students. More…

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An international transition

After gaining some credibility in her chosen field this Unit Coordinator emigrated from Eastern Europe. She describes her appreciation of the support provided to her on her arrival at an Australian university. More…

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A Baptism of fire

Prior to her university career this Unit Coordinator worked in the mining industry and was self employed. She describes her first weeks preparing a new unit as an academic. Her survival was assisted with support from her colleagues and her own resilience. More…

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Using my time wisely

This coordinator faced the newness of technical issues initially and associates lack of administration support with a lack of value by her institution. Dealing with staff hiring, paperwork and other admin tasks removes her from focussing on the students and other important areas that her education and experience have prepared her for. More…

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Organised chaos

When she reflects upon her role this coordinator thinks ‘organised chaos’, labour intensity and the variety of abilities and skills she requires to perform all aspects of the role. She sees the time spent with staff as important to develop and support them. As a specialist she feels professionally isolated and worries about the rigour of developing a unit on her own. More…

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Developing sessional staff

This coordinator supervises 30 sessional staff. To engender a consistent pedagogical approach with students she approached the T & L unit to develop a training program, which engaged staff strongly. Feeling isolated arises from work in a specialist area and limited collaboration opportunities. More…

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Leading the unit coordinators

This Head of School has extensive coordination experience in the sciences and understands the role well. He demonstrates his value of the team and provides extra support for new coordinators and those with large classes. The enjoyment ‘edge’ of the job has been removed by weekend work needed to stay on top of his responsibilities. More…

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