This paper presents a contingency theory of approaches to teaching in Higher Education adopted by university academics who teach heterogeneous student cohorts within a changing university context. The study is located within the substantive context of academics within Australian universities who teach within the broad field of management studies. Orthodox grounded theory is employed to generate a contingency typology comprised of four separate teaching approaches: Distancing, Adapting, Clarifying, and Relating. The model demonstrates how academics utilise a variety of teaching approaches to address their 'main concern', namely maintaining their professional competence within the context of a rapidly changing university landscape and significantly heterogeneous groups of students. We have labelled this process 'Maintaining Competence'. This model stresses the importance of the twin forces of structure and individual agency in determining teaching approaches. It emphasises the value of analysing what academics actually do in the classroom situation, rather than concentrating on normative assumptions of what they should do in terms of best practice.