The criteria of effective teaching in higher education are understood to comprise particular skills and practices applied within particular contexts. Drawing on the literature and using Australia’s understanding of effective teaching, this paper examines the notion of effective teaching. The paper compares dimensions derived from robust research and psychometric processes with the Australian Learning and Teaching Council’s criteria for effective teaching and observes the criteria of effective teaching in higher education to have evolved. While the paper suggests some areas in which future considerations of the notion of effective teaching might usefully focus, it also argues that context is critical and that it is subject to continuous and multiple changes imposed by forces from within and outside universities. The paper maintains that our collective understanding of competent, professional and effective teaching must continually evolve in order that it accurately reflects and continually responds to the contexts in which learning and teaching is undertaken. The paper also calls for an ongoing agenda that continuously investigates and articulates the meaning of effective teaching in a changed, and changing, context.