Teaching & Learning

Focus and Themes

The SIG aims to provide a forum for CAUTHE members to discuss and engage in professional development activities related to tourism, hospitality and events education in the rapidly changing higher education environment. Current interests and themes include:

  • Curriculum development including design and delivery, assessment, student experience
  • Student learning including influences, practices, pathways and spaces
  • The impacts and implications of higher education policy
  • Globalisation and internationalisation in higher education
  • Professional learning, work experience and industry engagement
  • The balance between liberal/social science education and vocational education
  • Tourism, hospitality and events education futures

Key Outcomes for Members

The SIG allows colleagues with a passion for teaching and learning to share and test ideas, have an outlet for their research, learn from the experiences of their peers and be a stakeholder in the advancement of best practice in tourism, hospitality and events education in Australia. The SIG seeks to organise symposia, workshops and other professional development opportunities, independently or in collaboration with other kindred organisations, to extend and explore the teaching and learning interests of CAUTHE members.


  • Panel discussion at the CAUTHE 2020 Conference on Tourism education under attack! to be followed by dinner at The Paddock Elliott Stables 39- 41 Elliott Street, Auckland CBD.The New Zealand government and industry are investing in skills development and career pathways to raise the productivity and employment impacts of tourism. But the role of education in these initiatives is unclear, and there have been attacks on the relevance and quality of tourism education at secondary and tertiary levels.

    Join the Teaching & Learning SIG for a discussion about the future of tourism education drawing on experiences in New Zealand of establishing the Tourism Educators Forum Aotearoa (TEFA). This has brought together educators from secondary schools, universities, polytechnics, secondary schools and private training providers and is a platform for, and a reference point between training and education educators and the New Zealand tourism industry and its representative bodies.

    The panel will include founding TEFA members, inaugural Chair Karen Smith (Victoria University of Wellington), University sector representatives Megan Roberts (AUT) and Anthony Brien (Lincoln University) and Julie McDougall, HOD Travel and Tourism at Macleans College Auckland and Chair of the Tourism Teachers Association – New Zealand. They are keen to hear about the experiences of educators in other countries so join the conversation.

  • The SIG has reviewed the Field of Research Codes – Tourism (1506) and Commercial services (1504) with an aim to putting in a submission for adding a specific research code for ‘Tourism Education’ and possibly ‘Commercial Services Education’ to the ANZSRC Review Consultation. Submissions are due 10 February 2020. Glen Croy and Mieke Witsel have run a poll among all T&L SIG members asking for their input, which is now complete. Mieke is currently collating responses and will send these back to the SIG for comment prior to putting together the submission in time for the ANZSRC Review Consultation.

Past Activities


  • The SIG’s Staff Adoption of Flipped Class Approach Project led by Glen Croy has initiated multi-university ethics approval and moved forward with a meeting held on 9 May 2019. Key topics discussed in the meeting were data collection, target journal and literature review.
  • A Scholarship of teaching and learning workshop was held during the 2019 Conference and followed by a dinner. The meeting was attended by 17 members from 12 universities.


  • Key outputs included a poster and a presentation at the Queensland University Educators Showcase:
    • Croy G, Witsel M, Benckendorff P, Kralj A, Wardle K, & Link C 2018 ‘Adopting education innovations: Lessons from flipped classrooms’ QUES 27-28 September 2018 (poster)
    • Witsel M, Croy G Benckendorff P, Kralj A, Wardle K, & Link C 2018 2018 ‘Educators’ reflections on education innovations: experiences of flipping classrooms’ QUES 27-28 September 2018 (presentation)Continued work on the publication of the special issue on Critical Perspectives in Education for JoHLSTE, with special editors Tamara Young, Mieke Witsel and Andrea Boyle.
  • Continued work on the publication of the special issue on Critical Perspectives in Education for JoHLSTE, with special editors Tamara Young, Mieke Witsel and Andrea Boyle.
  • Upcoming mid-year webinar on teaching and learning research using web based social media, with guest speaker Professor Bill Boyd, Professor of Geography with scholarly interests in long-term environmental change, human-landscape interactions, environmental and cultural heritage management, and higher education.

Past Activities


  • Workshop at CAUTHE 2017 conference: Encouraging (transnational) collaboration to increase publication outputs for CAUTHE members interested in and engaged in the scholarship of learning can benefit from avenues and encouragement to better promote and distribute their scholarly interests and work. We  particularly invite our Asian/Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) colleagues to attend as there will be special emphasis on developing transnational dyads and triads between Australian / NZ academics and Asian academics to improve scholarly outputs.
  • Teaching and Learning Facebook group has been created for CAUTHE members interested in and engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning, to enable networking, and to better promote and distribute their scholarly interests and work. Anyone wishing to join please apply through Facebook or email Mieke Witsel.


  • Coordinated a 2016 Special Edition on Critical Perspectives in Education for JoHLSTE with guest editors Tamara Young, Mieke Witsel and Andrea Boyle.  It is still a work in progress, awaiting completion of one review and finalisation of a few remaining papers.
  • The SIG co-chairs Mieke Witsel, Diane Lee and Nisha Abm (Barkathunnisha Abu Bakar) met in Singapore in October to discuss the promotion of teaching and learning, and strategies for the SIG to increase networking and collaboration opportunities.
  • Pierre Benckendorff stepped down as the co-chair and main coordinator of the SIG in June and handed over the role to Mieke Witsel at SCU. Thank you Pierre for your great work to maintain the SIG since 2012.


  • A number of SIG members have contributed chapters to the Handbook of Teaching and Learning in Tourism being published by Edward Elgar. The guest editors accepted eight abstracts and submission of full papers was 30 November 2015.
  • The SIG supported the work of a two year project in Australia to develop a set of national learning and teaching academic standards for tourism, hospitality and events. This exercise is similar to the benchmark statements that were developed in the UK.
  • Assoc Prof Elisa Backer and Pierre conducted on research into the perceived value of Australian business Honours degrees. CAUTHE members were invited to participate in the online survey.
  • The SIG hosted a paper stream and workshops at the CAUTHE 2015 conference as part of the OLT Setting the Standard in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Higher Education and OLT Enhancing student learning outcomes with simulation-based pedagogies projects.
  • SIG member Tamara Young was recently awarded a national OLT citation for outstanding contributions to student learning.
  • The SIG had a great turnout at the CAUTHE 2015 conference where discussions included:
    • Social Media: please join our group conversations on LinkedIn or our newly created Facebook page (choose your poison!)
    • Hot off the press: The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Hospitality Education has been co-edited by some of our SIG members (Dianne Dredge and Michael Gross) and is a significant new addition to the literature on tourism, hospitality and events education. Well worth a read.
    • Non-university members: the SIG is an inclusive group and welcomes newcomers from both university and non-university institutions.


  • Due to growing interest from members in Singapore and New Zealand the SIG formed a new structure, with a team of chairs working together on various global and local activities:
    • Australian Co-chairs: Pierre Benckendorff (East Coast); Diane Lee (West Coast)
    • Singapore Chair: Nisha Abm
    • New Zealand Chair: Christian Schott
  • Webinar titled Technology Enhanced Learning in Tourism and Hospitality was held on 23 July 2014.


  • Scholarship: contributions to the Handbook of Tourism and Hospitality Education being published by Routledge in 2014.
  • Members have been successful obtaining two national grants from the Office for Teaching and Learning (OLT) for the following projects:
    • Setting the standard: establishing threshold learning outcomes for tourism, hospitality and events higher education in Australia
    • Enhancing student learning outcomes with simulation-based pedagogies
  • Networking: members have been actively involved in networking and assisting other kindred organisations and networks including the Tourism Education Futures Imitative (TEFI), the BEST Education Network and THE-ICE.
  • The SIG would also like to congratulate the following individuals for receiving national OLT citations for outstanding contributions to student learning in the tourism, hospitality and event areas:
    • Steve Brown (Flinders University) for the creation and development of the suite of undergraduate and postgraduate festival and event programs in tourism leading to industry-ready graduates
    • Elisa Backer (Federation University) for development of creative, innovative curricula that demonstrate leadership; and as well as providing excellent learning outcomes for students, have gained support from industry




  • Teaching and Learning SIG Forum. Theme: Fostering Collaborative and Innovative Industry? Academe Educational Alliances on 8 October at Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia, organized by Lisa Ruhanen, Elizabeth Roberts and Noel Scott.


  • Meeting at CAUTHE 2009 to discuss and confirm the focus and key outcomes of the SIG.
  • Special Journal issue of the Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Management about the Student Experience, edited by Lisa Ruhanen, Elizabeth Roberts and Noel Scott, containing the following papers:
    • Deconstructing the Student Experience: A Conceptual Framework by Pierre Benckendorff, Lisa Ruhanen and Noel Scott
    • All Wired Up But Not Plugged in: An Evaluation of Tourism and Leisure Marketing Students’ Expectations and Experiences of Lecture Podcasting, by Dale Sanders and Megan LeClus
    • Evaluating Wikis as an Assessment Tool for Developing Collaboration and Knowledge Management Skills, by Pierre Benckendorff
    • With The Simpsons as Tour Guides: How Popular Culture Sources can Enhance the Student Experience in a University Tourism Unit by Johan R. Edelheim
    • Two Perspectives on Event Management Employment: Student and Employer Insights Into the Skills Required to Get the Job Done! by Olga Junek, Leonie Lockstone and Judith Mair
    • Mind the Gap: Aligning Learning and Graduate Outcomes Through Industry Partnerships by Elizabeth Roberts
    • Tourism and Hospitality Research Student Experiences: How to Achieve Quality, Inclusivity and Belongingness by Gayle Jennings, Ulrike Kachel, Sandra Kensbock and Mary-Anne Smith

SIG Co-ordinators

  • Dr Mieke Witsel

    School of Tourism & Hospitality Management

    Southern Cross University

  • Associate Professor Tamara Young

    Newcastle Business School

    University of Newcastle

  • Dr Nikki Macionis

    UQ Business School

    The University of Queensland