Advancing the development of good practice around the teaching team has been the focus of a recently completed, nationally funded Australian grant entitled Coordinators Leading Advancement of Sessional Staff (CLASS). The project focused on developing leadership capacity of subject coordinators to provide supportive contexts for sessional staff to enhance their knowledge of teaching practice and contribute to subject improvement through a team approach. An action learning approach and notions of distributed leadership underpinned the activities of the teaching teams in the program.
This paper provides an overview of a practical approach, led by the subject coordinator, to engaging sessional staff through the facilitation of a supportive network within the teaching team. It addresses some of the gaps identified in the recent literature which includes lack of role clarity for all members of the team and provides some examples of initiatives that teams engaged with to address some of the challenges identified. Resources to support this approach were developed and are shared though the project website. Recommendations for future direction include improved policy and practice at the institutional level, better recognition and reward for subject coordinators and resourcing to support the participation and professional development needs of sessional staff.