The SCD is a higher education provider registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). TEQSA’s standards are governed by the Higher Education Framework that includes the following section:
Section 4 Primacy of academic quality and integrity
The higher education provider maintains academic quality and integrity in its higher education operations.
4.1 The higher education provider’s objectives for its higher education operations include the cultivation in students of critical and independent thought and the capacity for learning throughout life.
4.2 The higher education provider promotes and protects free intellectual inquiry and expression in its higher education learning, teaching, and research activities.
4.3 The higher education provider protects academic integrity in higher education through effective policies and measures to:
- ensure the integrity of student assessment;
- ensure the integrity of research and research activity;
- prevent, detect and address academic misconduct by students or staff, including cheating and plagiarism;
- ensure that academic staff are free to make public comment on issues that lie within their area of expertise; and,
- ensure that the awarding of multiple awards, including higher education awards offered in conjunction with another entity, protects the integrity of the higher education awards offered by the higher education provider.
An academic staff profile that resembles recognised higher education providers, eg universities is a guarantee of the SCD’s ability to maintain academic quality and integrity in its higher education operations. This profile is normally expressed in academic classification levels:
Level A Associate Lecturer
Level B Lecturer
Level C Senior Lecturer
Level D Associate Professor
Level E Professor
Under this classification scheme, the levels indicate a movement in academic expertise from basic levels to Level E staff whose engagement in research and scholarly work is of a high order with significant external recognition that places the academic in the “front rank” of the relevant field, nationally and internationally.
Within the broader higher education sector academic staff are eager to be classified at higher levels because an increase in level results in an increase in salary, status, and recognition. The SCD acknowledges and affirms that academic staff within the SCD are motivated generally by a sense of vocation or calling rather than salary, status, and recognition. Consequently there may be some hesitation about seeking higher levels of classification. However, the quality and expertise of SCD academic staff must be demonstrable and observable. Classification on the basis of criteria that are well accepted within the higher education sector is essential. Furthermore, under the Mission of the SCD the Member Institutions of the College have committed themselves to sustaining a teaching program of excellence in higher education, integrating best practice in adult teaching and learning with theological enterprise. In order to maintain this commitment MIs seek to demonstrate that their staff profile closely resembles that of the higher education sector at large.
In 2011 in Australian higher education the proportion of academic staff at each level was
Level A 17%
Level B 34%
Level C 23%
Levels D-E 26%
The national situation is a key benchmark for SCD.