Tag: UK

Guest blogger: Rewarding excellent teaching in the UK – from policy to practice

Dr Rebecca Turner and Prof David Gosling
(University of Plymouth)

In this blog posting Dr Rebecca Turner and Prof. David Gosling examine how a national policy initiative attempted to promote the agenda for rewarding excellent teaching within the UK.  It considers the interplay between national policy and local agenda and the implications for achieving change in higher education

This entry is based on the article: “Rewarding Excellent Teaching: the translation of a policy initiative in the United Kingdom. Higher Education Quarterly, 44 (4) 415-430.

There is a well-rehearsed argument that systems of reward for teaching and learning and for research should be more equitable. Since the 1970’s policymakers have been calling for increased recognition to be given to those who are excellent teachers because of the role they play in educating future generations. However, despite the prevalence of awards for teaching, and the growth of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning movement, recognition for teaching still appears to be falling behind that of research, with increasing fears of the implications of this for teaching quality – as highlighted in a recent article by Vassiliou & McAleese (2012).

In the UK, under the New Labour government, considerable attention was paid to the issues of teaching quality from the late 1990’s.  There were several national initiatives with the dual purpose of promoting and rewarding high quality teaching and learning.   The largest of these was the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) initiative, introduced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in 2004.  The declared purpose of the initiative was to reward excellent teaching and to invest in the identified excellent practice in order to increase and deepen its impact.  The CETLs were awarded after a two-stage competitive bidding process in which a case was made for self-identified excellence within or across a network of institutions.  In 2005, 74 CETLs were awarded, each receiving up to £500,000 annually with an initial capital investment of up to £2 million. This in itself marked the CETL initiative out as significant because it was the most generously funded initiative targeted at improving teaching there had ever been.

News: British students more satisfied than ever

End of last week, HEFCE published the newest results from the annual National Student Survey (NSS) in UK. This years edition can perhaps be seen as surprising, provided that the numbers reported refer to a historically high satisfaction rate amongst studentsin the 154 higher education institutions (HEIs) and 106 further education colleges (FECs). The overall satisfaction was reported to be 85% in average, and also distance institutiosn such as the Open University received high marks for their courses in additional to the usual highly ranked institutions.

The survey measures a number of aspects about course provision and satisfaction, including indicators about teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, opportunities for personal development, overall satisfaction, in addition to evaluation of students unions and NHS practice placements in cases where this is relevant.

Regarding teaching, four indicators were measured and all indicated a satisfaction rate well over 80%, where highest scores were received for skills in explaining subject matter and somewhat lower scores were received for making the subjects interesting. In average the scores for teaching indicated an over 85% satisfaction rate for all parts of the UK. The scores for assessment and feedback were somewhat lower, but nevertheless 7 out of 10 students in the UK are happy with the assessment practices, a considerable increase from 2005 when the same number was 6 our of 10. Nevertheless, when examining the numbers for dissatisfaction, assessment was the section with highest score of dissatisfaction.

Guest blogger: The elicitation of research impact through engagement

dr. Richard Watermeyer (University of Cardiff)

In this guest entry, dr. Richard Watermeyer from University of Cardiff examines the  public engagement agenda and shift towards using “impact” as a core element in evaluating the quality of research in UK. 

This guest entry draws on the article “From Engagement to Impact? Articulating the Public Value of Academic Research”.

In recent years the UK’s Higher Education (HE) community has been tasked with responding to a mandate of increased transparency, openness and a willingness to more proactively and fluently engage with public constituencies, particularly cohorts outwith the realms of common or established interaction, in the pursuit of greater social inclusion and cohesion.

Advocates of engagement in HE have mobilised around a discourse of dialogue, upstream engagement and knowledge co-production co-opted from the burgeoning disciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and proponents of a public understanding of science movement, which/who emerged in the UK in the mid-1980s and promulgated the social responsibilities of the scientific community and the social and economic advantages of a more integrated and cohesive arrangement between scientific experts and lay publics, predicated on the latter’s early dialogical integration and sustained involvement in the deliberative aspects of the research process.

New HEIK working paper on changes in English higher education

The research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge cultures) from the University of Oslo has recently launched the third issue of the HEIK Working Paper Series. The working paper series features papers on various issues related to higher education research, both from HEIK members and selected national and international guests.

The paper is titled “The regulated market and the process of change in English higher education: Lessons from Oxbridge” and is written by prof. Ted Tapper. Professor Ted Tapper has extensive experience in the fields of political science and higher education. He was a long time professor at the University of Sussex, and holds a research professorship at the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies. One of his core interest areas has been on the relationship between education and politics and he has extensively published on system level governance and policy issues related to higher education.

You can view the abstract and download the paper here.

Funded PhD studentships by Higher Education Academy in UK

For those interested in doing a PhD in higher education, Higher Education Academy in the UK has announced two funded PhD studentships.

The grants are linked to specific thematic areas linked to employability: work experience and mobility.

Both of the grants cover three years of tuition and maintenance scholarship (yearly £13,590 + £850 to support research training)

Studentship 1: ‘Articulating learning and employability through experience’ at Keele University.

This studentship will explore how HE students’ engagement in different forms of work experience (i.e. paid employment, placements, internships and volunteering) contributes to their leaner skills and employability, and there is an expectation of interdisciplinary work. You can find more information about the expected focus, Keele University and application procedures (necessary documents etc) by downloading the announcement here (pdf). Application deadline: 20th of June 2012  at 5PM (GMT+1h).

Studentship 2: ‘The Impact of Different Forms of International Student Mobility on Learning and Transitions to Employment’ at University of Surrey.

This studentship will explore how HE students experiences with various mobility initiatives (i.e. mobility programmes, dual degrees, short visits, work placements abroad etc) contributes to their learning and employability later on. You can find more information about the  focus and application procedures here (reference 8771). Application deadline is 25th of June 2012 at 09AM (GMT + 1h).