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The first cohort of over 150 academics who have taken on new roles at UNSW that foster and reward educational excellence has been celebrated at a special event.

Under the umbrella of its 2025 Strategy, UNSW has set an ambitious target of 25% of its academic workforce holding Education Focussed (EF) roles within the next eight years. The new career pathway means the University’s academics now have the choice to focus on teaching and be recognised and rewarded for the vital contribution they make to students.

“This is a momentous day for UNSW,” President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs says. “If you look at where the resources are going to be in higher education over the next 20 or 30 years, it is overwhelmingly in education,” he says.

Other universities in Australia and overseas are slowly starting to think about moving from the dominant research-focussed approach to introducing EF careers. At UNSW, the strategy is being embraced and supported on every level through investment in resources, development opportunities, new promotion pathways and a carefully designed career framework.

The University needs good teachers to attract and inspire students to do research, says Dr Jayashri Ravishankar, Senior Lecturer in Energy Systems with the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.

“We already have research excellence; this new EF program will drive the university to educational excellence. When combined, we will be one of the best universities in the world,” she says.

The characteristics that make someone an outstanding researcher or an outstanding teacher are not necessarily the same, says Jeni Engel, Senior Lecturer and Director of Indigenous Legal Education at UNSW Law. 

“So, it makes good sense to encourage and support both. I am really excited and interested in the prospect of advancing up the EF career progression scale. This is a whole new ball game.”

Watch the video for more about this new career pathway and what EF academics think about it.