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Enhancing Teaching and Learning in HE: two contrasting national policy approaches . Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) The Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF). What I’ll cover. The background to each policy The aims of each policy Underlying assumptions Implementation

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Enhancing teaching and learning in he two contrasting national policy approaches

Enhancing Teaching and Learning in HE: two contrasting national policy approaches

Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs)

The Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF)

What i ll cover
What I’ll cover...... national policy approaches

  • The background to each policy

  • The aims of each policy

  • Underlying assumptions

  • Implementation

  • Strengths

  • Challenges

  • Questions/comments?

Background to the cetls
Background to the CETLs national policy approaches

  • Five year (2005-2010) HEFCE initiative in England & N.Ireland

  • Funding of £315 million with each CETL receiving between £200-£500k per annum + a capital sum of between £0.8 - £2.35 million

  • Competitive bidding process – 74 CETLs funded in 2005

  • Cover most subject areas and many aspects of student learning

Cetl building the centre for active learning at the university of gloucester
CETL building (The Centre for Active Learning at the University of Gloucester)

‘The CETL programme has led to the construction and development of different sorts of learning spaces and spaces to support learning … I can’t quite see they’d have happened in any other way than by CETL capital funding and been as innovative and experimental as happened … the capital may end up making the greatest impact of all CETL funding in the host institution’.

Background to the qef
Background to the QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Introduced by SFC in 2003 following wide consultation

  • Shift in emphasis away from QA to QE

  • Shift from external to internal quality regulation

  • Whole sector approach based on collaboration rather than competition

20 heis in scotland
20 HEIs in Scotland University of Gloucester)

Enhancing teaching and learning in he two contrasting national policy approaches
Aims University of Gloucester)

  • CETLs

    • ‘to reward excellent teaching practice’

    • ‘to invest in that practice further in order to increase and deepen its impact across a wider teaching and learning community’

  • QEF

    • to take deliberate steps to bring about continuous improvement in the effectiveness of the learning experience of students

Underlying assumptions cetls
Underlying assumptions: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Reinforcing existing good practice will deepen impact

  • Excellent teaching = excellent learning

  • Reward and recognition encourage enhancement of teaching quality

  • Recognising individual and institutional excellence in teaching and learning promotes excellence across the sector

  • A relatively ‘light touch’ is most likely to yield improvement

Underlying assumptions qef
Underlying assumptions: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Distinctiveness of the Scottish HE sector

  • Collegiality

  • Consensual development = greater ownership

  • Alignment of aspirations of QEF to specific actions rather than a general exhortation

  • A relatively ‘light touch’ is most likely to yield improvement

Implementation cetls
Implementation: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Opportunities for visiting practitioners or fellows to work with teachers and students

  • Bursaries and grants for staff and students to undertake pedagogic research

  • Bursaries and grants for staff and students to experiment with new learning opportunities and curricula

  • Organise and support events to disseminate innovation

  • Develop digital and web-based events, and other resources

  • Establish partnership arrangements

  • Make creative and efficient use of buildings, plant and equipment


Implementation qef
Implementation: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • institutional subject review

  • enhancement led institutional review (ELIR)

  • improved public information about quality

  • greater voice for student representatives in institutional quality systems

  • national programme of enhancement themes

Quality enhancement themes
Quality Enhancement Themes University of Gloucester)

  • Assessment in higher education

  • Responding to student needs in higher education

  • Employability

  • Flexible delivery

  • The First Year

  • Research-Teaching Linkages

  • Integrative Assessment

  • Work directed by Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee (SHEEC)

  • http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk

Strengths cetls
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Resources

    ‘In this semester, people have actually designed - not really designed completely but modified - the structure of their seminars to fit the room. Whenever I have a chat with any student in my own class or somebody else’s class, they just say ‘wow, this is the sort of room we want to be in. Tomorrow when we go into employment, we are going to see these kind of rooms and we’ll be very confident because we’ve used it in our seminars and for presentations’. They are going to have a flavour of employability by the time they graduate’.

Strengths cetls1
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Raising profile of teaching and learning

    ‘We’ve worked hard to change the culture in the institution to create reward structures to reflect good research records and now we’re more able to reflect good teaching as well. Centres for Excellence have focussed the debate more towards teaching. I don’t think it’s actually achieved much in reality yet, but that new focus on teaching is beginning to guide where the institution is going’.

    ‘I think this is one area where the playing field is a lot more level than it is in terms of the RAE. We don’t have pots of cash from the RAE to distribute around research innovation - we just don’t have it. This gives us another chance to play to our strengths so I really welcome it. It’s something that does enable universities of this size to really develop. It gives us an opportunity to develop which we couldn’t find from our own resources. It’s absolutely vital’.

Strengths cetls2
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Creating change

    ‘The achievements of (the CETL) have gone so far as to change the University Mission Statement. This has gone to the heart of the university. The VC refers to it in all the promotion of the university - the way in which (the CETL) is unique - the only government-recognised centre of excellence in (this subject area) in the country. It’s got into the Mission Statement, it’s got into all of our publicity. It’s core. So whenever we sell the university, we sell it as a university committed to these kinds of things. It’s incredibly good for our kudos and reputation and really has affected the heart of the university.’

Strengths cetls3
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Networking and collaborations

    ‘Normally you stay in your silos - stay in your area and you wouldn’t speak to other people. Because you’re so, I don’t know, used to your own sort of area. To paraphrase Charles Handy, “that’s how you do things round here”. So it’s great to hear your colleagues from a different discipline and how they look at issues and it does encourage you to think laterally maybe or differently about a situation that you would really have thought about in a very subject-specific way previously’.

Strengths cetls4
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Experimentation, research, risk-taking

    ‘We didn’t have enough cash - we didn’t have enough input - as far as money was concerned - to do what we really wanted to do. We were certainly limited by finance until we were awarded the CETL and then some of those shackles were removed. We can try things out. You can see if things work or don’t work. You can certainly throw a little bit of money at some things. We don’t know all the answers so we have to try things out’.

Strengths cetls5
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Professional development

    ‘The CETL for me is like a bag of opportunities and I feel I’ve learned so much since I started…I’m really pleased and grateful (for the opportunities to attend conferences) because I had the feeling that, prior to being a CETL Fellow, I remember being really bitter about the fact that so much time had gone into personal development, had gone into students, but I was thinking what about me? I’ve been teaching for years - eight or nine years - I’ve been to one or two conferences throughout all that period. It changed completely when I joined CETL. It opened up a whole world where I could go and listen. So all these projects which have been mentioned, I wouldn’t have known about if it hadn’t been for the CETL’.

Strengths cetls6
Strengths: CETLs University of Gloucester)

  • Student involvement

    ‘It was just wonderful because it actually makes you feel a part of the university not just like, I don’t know - like a car in a garage. You actually feel a part of the whole system and that you can actually be heard. Your voice is being heard. And if you feel that people are going to make changes based on what you say, you’re going to want to be there, you’re going to want to study there. And you’re going to want to work harder because you feel as though what you’re doing is being appreciated’.

Strengths qef
Strengths: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Ownership by sector/Light touch

    ‘Internal review processes can now focus on a slightly more critical analysis for the benefit of the institution rather than trying to provide a rosy picture for external people’.

    ‘It took people a little bit of time to get their heads around the fact that wewere in charge of it - rather than just having to comply with it. That was quite a change. ..... You need to believe that you can actually have a go and perhaps not succeed but that you're not going to get clobbered for that’.

Strengths qef1
Strengths: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Less burdensome

    ‘In the old audits, you were guilty till proven innocent. Now it’s the other way round – you’re innocent till proven guilty’.

    ‘I have high hopes for it. It sounds like it’s going to do the things that the sector hopes it will actually achieve without an enormous burden in terms of thousands of man-hours and hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation’.

Strengths qef2
Strengths: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Smallness of Scottish sector

    ‘One huge benefit we have in Scotland is that we are quite small and we can all get together in one room – the whole sector, as it were – and talk about these things. Which is really enormously helpful and of itself makes the whole prospect of enhancement actually credible’.

Strengths qef3
Strengths: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Not competitive

    ‘The older universities have the self-belief that what they do is right, the newer universities haven’t got that confidence. We sometimes forget that what we do is reasonably OK. We can learn from the sector by seeing that all institutions are different – not necessarily better’.

Strengths qef4
Strengths: QEF University of Gloucester)

  • Raises status of teaching and learning

    ‘I think it’s undoubtedly the case that there has been far more discussion and far more thinking about practice in these areas over the five years, six years that the themes have been running than there was in the five or six years before that or the five or six years before that. So it seems to me there’s undoubtedly been a significant amount of agenda-raising and of putting these things on the table that says ‘what are we doing about these? What are we thinking about them? How’s it working?’ and so on’.

Six challenges relating to both initiatives
Six Challenges University of Gloucester)relating to both initiatives

  • Extent of impact/dissemination

  • Resources and sustainability

  • ‘Light touch’/autonomy

  • Status of research vis-à-vis teaching

  • ‘Initiative fatigue’

  • Student engagement

1 extent of impact dissemination
1.Extent of impact/dissemination University of Gloucester)

  • ‘The government’s view ..is that if you throw a lot of money at something, and set up something that is really fantastic, then other people will copy it. But HE is too diverse. It doesn’t work the same as schools - the institutions are too big. The government hoped that universities would start taking learning and teaching more seriously. But dissemination has been so low. CETLs have been very specific and have had targets and aims within the institution. They are not outward looking at all’. (CETLs)

  • ‘It does concern me how much of it does feed down to the academics at the chalk face. I'm not sure how much has really filtered all the way down. I suspect a lot gets stuck at a sort of middle level and doesn’t get any further’. (QEF)

2 resources and sustainability
2. Resources and sustainability University of Gloucester)

  • I think it's going to be a tough call, it really is. Yes, there will be good things that will remain. There'll be connections that have been made, relationships that have been brokered but they are all dependent on a funding base and such funding as we have identified, in future, will still require a sort of matching element to it. And I think that the tragedy is that a great deal of endeavour - good will - and real achievement will have been brought about which will just suddenly come to an end. Good things will have happened, good connections will continue but a lot will inevitably erode. It may not be the case for a big institution that's got flexibility to move around resources, but it will certainly hit the small institutions. (CETLs)

2 resources and sustainability1
2. Resources and sustainability University of Gloucester)

  • I am not a great fan of pushing lots of money into institutions but I think that the decision to push a small amount of money into every institution has been a great one and I think that really has stimulated much more change and potentially greater impact for such a small return’. (QEF)

3 light touch autonomy
3. Light touch/autonomy University of Gloucester)

  • ‘One would expect there to be a HEFCE person saying 'hang on a minute, are you talking to, and did you know that, and gosh, there's some interesting things - ' Just being the sort of CETL officer keeping tabs on things’.

  • ‘QAA have a view of institutional autonomy that stops them being prescriptive. One way to notachieve what you want is to say ‘this is the right thing that we would like to see all Scottish universities move towards’. But a little guidance...would be very helpful’.

4 status of research vis vis teaching
4. Status of research vis-à-vis teaching University of Gloucester)

  • ‘There's a perception that students can be taken for granted and RAE is seen as income generation - forgetting the income we actually get for having these students. Teaching and research are becoming increasingly separated. Some staff are being branded as non-research active and are being loaded up with teaching. That separation is beginning to take place’. (QEF)

  • ‘The rationale? One read it almost as a kind of sop to those who weren’t scoring high on the RAE. There was that kind of fundamental thing there – ‘don’t worry, folks, because we’ve got this CETL ploy up our sleeves and you’ve all got a chance to have a go at that!’ I don’t know whether that’s really true or not but I think there’s an element of that’. (CETLs)

4 status of research vis vis teaching1
4. Status of research vis-à-vis teaching University of Gloucester)

  • ‘And we’re still living with the fact that even sort of post-RAE a huge proportion of the staff at the university don’t regard themselves primarily as teachers and will engage with it only minimally - as much as they need to do. They regard it as a status type thing – a kind of requirement - rather than a maximum requirement. The university itself, although there has been some promising practical developments through the last couple of promotion rounds, it’s still the case that the kind of attitude to teaching is that if you really can’t hack it as a researcher, you might as well be a teacher. With this environment, it’s extremely difficult to get people to engage with development. The thing that surprises me often is how many people are prepared to engage with teaching despite that because there’s not much positive outcome to it’. (QEF)

5 initiative fatigue
5. ‘Initiative fatigue’ University of Gloucester)

  • ‘There’s so much continual change. It’s one of the most dispiriting and disheartening parts of academia that people don’t get a chance to implement new ideas before the next one is on their desk. That’s what turns them off’. (QEF)

  • ‘You have one round of some things and you get used to it and then you’re not allowed to build on it next time because they’ve changed the goalposts. As someone who's been trying to preach the gospel in the department for some time about quality enhancement and trying to get things done, the fact that everything's been changing almost every year has been a real killer in terms of trying to get people in a regular habit of doing things’. (QEF)

6 student engagement
6. Student engagement University of Gloucester)

  • ‘There’s also increasingly much greater demands on students and students’ time in terms of the numbers that are now working part-time, even full-time, in a number of cases, and we’re finding that students aren’t engaging with their own student union. Our elections are much less contested these days than they used to be even two or three years ago, and what we need to be looking at in institutions is, is that because they don’t have time to do it, because they’re not interested in doing it, or is it because they’re so disengaged from it that they don’t think it will make any difference?’ (QEF)

To sum up
To sum up.... University of Gloucester)

  • Similarities in aims

  • Similarities in some challenges

  • Distinctiveness of Scottish HE sector

    ‘There’s a certain Scottish thing that says whatever England does, you’ve got to take it away and wrap a bit of tartan ribbon around it and make it different!’

  • Shift towards enhancement