Subject Improvement Program

Subject improvement is critical to achieving high quality learning outcomes for students at La Trobe University.  Continuous improvement of subject curricula and delivery is required to assure the quality of all our courses.

The Subject Improvement Program (SIP) works to improve student satisfaction, as measured by the Student Feedback on Subjects (SFS) survey instrument and student success in subjects where there have been high rates of failure.

Heads of Schools lead the development of improvement plans for all target subjects in their schools. Target subjects are selected based on low student satisfaction with the subject, or high rates of student failure or withdrawal.

The program does not seek to apportion blame for the underperformance of the subject but rather recognises this may be caused by a multitude of factors. SIP requires the Schools put in place strategies and resources to address the issues underlying underperformance. This includes options to redesign all or part of the subject, and professional development opportunities and resources for teaching staff.

This site outlines processes available to subject coordinators and members of subject teams who engage with subject improvement at La Trobe University.

Improvement Process

The process is evidence-based and supports systematic data collection, evaluation and decision-making during a defined cycle of activities. From 2017, the SIP process will commence with the development of an Action Plan based on available information, delivery of the subject in which the Action Plan is implemented, and finally a review of evidence of improvement at the end of the cycle.

Action Plans

Action Plans can include a range of activities including redesigning the subject or components of the subject, professional development activities for teaching staff and other activities as relevant to the subject and discipline.

All Action Plans should also allow for additional student feedback to be sought the first time the subject is delivered after the action plan is implemented.

Heads of Schools, with assistance from the School Director of Teaching and Learning and in consultation with College Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors (Coursework), Academic Coordinators (Coursework), Course and Subject Coordinators, College Education Teams and La Trobe Learning and Teaching (LTLT) undertake action planning. Action plans should be drafted so as to be fully executable within six months (i.e., drafted so that any changes made as part of the action plan will be fully implemented in the same teaching periods in the following year. For example, action plans for poor performing subjects delivered between July and December 2017 will be developed during the first half of 2018, for implementation and evaluation to commence in the teaching periods between July and December 2018).

Where a subject shows little improvement, it will be referred to the College Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Coursework) to decide on an appropriate course of action.

Subject Improvement Plan (SIP) Timeline: the 2018 process:

July – December 2017

Teaching period data collection (Round one)

May 2018

Action Plans (Round One) completed and approved

June 2018

Interim report to SEG

January - June 2018

Teaching period data collection (Round two)

October 2018

Action Plans (Round Two) completed and approved

November 2018

Interim reporting to SEG

Professional Development Options

Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme (PATS)

PATS provides professional teaching development to participating academic staff (participants) through assessment, advising and mentoring from academic peers (advisers) who have a demonstrated track record of teaching excellence.

PATS has been developed to enable the sharing of good teaching practice across the University. The Scheme is configured around the three key expectations of its academics who teach: to be able to design for effective teaching and learning, deliver effective teaching and learning; and lead teaching and learning.

While it is a core component of the Subject Improvement Program, PATS is a core LTLT program open to all teaching staff who would like to improve an aspect of their teaching via peer observation and advice.

For more information regarding PATS, visit the LMS site here.

Activities and Resources Framework

La Trobe Learning and Teaching (LTLT) provides a combination of self-paced resources, formal peer review and advising, workshops and programs that can be accessed by subject coordinators in developing and implementing actions aimed at improving student success as measured by retention, progression and satisfaction.

SIP participants can select resources according to their needs. Click here to proceed to self-paced resources and visit the LTLT website for workshops. LTLT activities form the basis of evidence required for formal credit into subjects in the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (GCHE), which in turn is linked to evidence for Academic Promotion.

For more information on professional development supporting subject improvement, contact:

Dr Damir Mitric
T: (61) 03 9479 5149

Contact List

For further support with SIP, please use the following contact list:

For the Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme (PATS):

For advice on proposed subject redesigns or other LTLT services:

contact the LTLT Senior College Partner:

Emily Kristenthal
T: +61 (0)3 9479 1758

For advice on Student Feedback on Subjects (SFS) data:

For any other questions related to the program:

Neridah Baker
LTLT Senior Adviser