The Higher Education White paper released earlier this year will fundamentally change the way universities are managed in the future.
Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has been amongst one of the biggest changes outlined in the Paper, designed to enhance teaching quality, with key indicators being student satisfaction, retention and graduate employment.
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) applaud that the White Paper aims to better inform student choices and widening participation, and the fact that TEF promotes the value of excellent teaching as a major factor in student success. Prof Stephanie Marshall, CEO at HEA said: “We’re also heartened that the contribution of reward and recognition strategies aligned to high quality delivery and an emphasis on initial and continuing professional development were highlighted as contributors to institutional and individual excellence.
“While many in the sector, including ourselves, have reservations about some aspects of TEF and the White Paper, there is no doubt that overall, greater attention to teaching and greater attention to how we support and value great teachers can only be a good thing for students and wider society.”
Prof Marshall also advised institutions to begin preparing for TEF now: “Be thinking toward at TEF year three and beyond, when teaching quality in individual subjects and individual courses, rather than at institutional level, gains prominence. Prospective students primarily choose the subject they want to pursue and then the institution they would like to study at – so having a good rating at discipline level is likely to exert strong influence on choice of institution.”
While many in the sector, including ourselves, have reservations about some aspects of TEF and the White Paper, there is no doubt that overall, greater attention to teaching and greater attention to how we support and value great teachers can only be a good thing for students and wider society
Prof Marshall said she has no doubt that excellent teaching already exists in the sector, as well as continuing opportunity to make it even better. HEA are designed to help universities improve their teaching quality, and Prof Marshall said they are looking forward to assist institutions in ensuring they are TEF ready and well able to demonstrate the high quality of teaching on offer.
“Right now, our institutions are arguably among the best in the world – which is why they are so attractive to so many young people from overseas who journey here to study” says Prof Marshall, “but expectations of teaching, and of our universities themselves, are rising – among students, parents, employers and government – at global level as well as national level.”
The latest HEA-HEPI survey’s results, which were published in July, show a clear link between student satisfaction and perceptions of value for money with teaching quality – 57% of students agree that for staff to have received training in how to teach is ‘very important’. “Indeed, nine of the 10 strongest correlations with overall student satisfaction related to good teaching practice and students who rate their teaching strongly are statistically more likely to be more satisfied learners,” said Prof Marshall.
“As a body of and for the sector, the HEA looks forward to working with institutions to further enhance the global reputation of UK HE teaching – from continuing the unprecedented growth in HEA Fellowships which is a hallmark of the UK sector’s pioneering work in this space, through to provision of our UKES survey and benchmarking, to working directly with the sector on the development of the assessment of teaching excellence at discipline level,” concluded Marshall.
HEA are official supporters of the Higher Education Show, where you can meet them, and listen to Prof Marshall taking part in a panel debate on the White Paper.