BLASST - The Project
Sess·ion·al Staff /sessional stǽf/ noun.
Any academic staff members who are not on permanent or continuing contracts. This includes lecturers, tutors, online course facilitators and moderators, markers and demonstrators.
Welcome to BLASST – a project funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching to support and enhance quality teaching by sessional staff in higher education.
Up to 50 % of teaching in Australian universities is provided by sessional staff. At individual departmental levels, this can rise to levels of 80% and more. In acknowledgement of this contribution, the BLASST project is establishing a national Sessional Staff Standards Framework which sets in place standards to evaluate and support the quality of performance and outcomes in learning and teaching, and in management and administrative policy, procedure, and practices affecting sessional teachers in higher education.
The Sessional Staff Standards Framework and its interactive benchmarking and reporting tool were launched at a National Leadership Summit with invited representatives from every Australian university.
"The majority of undergraduate teaching at Australian universities is performed by casual, hourly-paid staff."
"...the University will require a comprehensive plan to address the needs of sessional staff including retention, contract management and professional development." AUQA Audit Report July 2008
"Good practice in quality assurance for casual staff certainly exists within the University; the challenge is to systematise it." AUQA Audit Report July 2003