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The Scottish Higher Education System: an overview of key elements Dr. Christine Laennec, Centre for Learning & Teaching
CLT: www.abdn.ac.uk/clt • SLS: www.abdn.ac.uk/sls • Link to Improving Your Writing, • Workshop booking
We will look at: • Higher Education Institutions in Scotland • Nature of Scottish undergraduate degrees • Funding (briefly!) • Qualifications students may arrive with • Scottish Qualifications Framework • Quality Assurance • Implications for teaching staff at Aberdeen
Higher Education Institutions in Scotland • 20 HEIs: • “ancients”: Edinburgh (1582), St. Andrews (1413), Glasgow (1451), Aberdeen (1495) • 1960s: Dundee, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Stirling • “post-1992”: Glasgow Caledonian, Napier, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon University, etc. • 2010: University of the Highlands & Islands • Future?
Scottish undergraduate degrees • 4-year degree (generally) • 3-year degree is also possible (“Ordinary Degree”) • Some programmes, e.g. languages, may take 5 years • In arts & humanities, M.A. is the first degree (no B.A.). Called an Honours Degree (M.A. Hons.) • The “extra year” is at Level 1 • Levels 1 & 2: wider breadth of study • “teaching marks” • Levels 3 & 4: Honours levels • Marks count towards eventual degree classification (1st; 2i; 2ii; 3rd)
How is HE funded in Scotland? • Responsibility for education is devolved to the Scottish parliament • Funding body: Scottish Funding Council • SFC distributes more than £1.5 billion to Higher Education and Further Education (FE) • Main teaching grant for Aberdeen in 2010-2011: 47.1M (cf. Glasgow, 83.5M) • Research funding is less than teaching grant; calculated on the results of the Research Excellence Framework exercise (every 7 years) • And now, fees will be paid by some students to close the “funding gap”
What do students pay to study at the University of Aberdeen? • Scottish students: free (Scottish government pays £1,820 annual fee) • Rest of UK [RUK] students: £9,000 / year, max £27,000 • EU students: free • Legal challenge to this? • International students (non-EU): £10,500 - £13,500/year; £24,000/year for Medicine
What kinds of qualifications do students arrive with? • Highers / Advanced Highers (Scottish students) • A-levels (RUK) – encouraged to start at Level 2 • International Baccalaureate • HNC/HND (earned at College) – often go directly into Level 2 • Access Summer School (many different backgrounds, incl. mature students)
Quality Assurance • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is tasked with ensuring that HEIs deliver appropriate standards. • Quality Enhancement Framework: • Enhancement Themes • 8 have been completed since 2003 • Currently “Developing & Supporting the Curriculum,” 2011-2014 • Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR, every 4 years) • Internal Teaching Reviews
And also… • Number of Scottish school leavers attending university has been over 50%. • But now the university has lowered the number of funded places (i.e. for Scottish and EU students). • If a university over-recruits, it must pay a penalty to the Scottish government. • Curriculum for Excellence has now been extended to secondary level & FE. • Equality Act means we must accommodate students with disabilities, including specific learning differences. • Financial reality means that many nominally full-time students are working 15+ hours a week.
Implications for teaching staff • Must teach a diverse student population: • Not all Level 1 students are school-leavers who share a similar background. • Increasingly, students will be entering at Level 2 (“Direct Entry”). • Many students who have received support for dyslexia and other learning differences in school will expect support at university. However, as teachers we are not usually informed of a student’s background / specific disability, etc.
Resources • Each School has a Director of Teaching & Learning, and a Director of Research; each School has a disability officer. • There are research networks, centres and events at the university. There is increasing research collaboration between universities. • There are symposia on teaching & learning at the university, as well as nationwide (Enhancement Themes, etc.).
Resources • Centre for Learning & Teaching can give tailored advice and help for teaching, including e-learning. • Centre for Learning & Teaching offers a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. • Student Learning Service offers tailored in-course sessions. • Student Support organises provisions for students with disabilities; this may include seeing dyslexia adviser.
Online resources • Centre for Learning & Teaching website has resources and case studies of innovative teaching practices here at Aberdeen. • For Students: • ACHIEVE on My Aberdeen (under My Organisations) • Academic Learning Resources on My Aberdeen (under My Organisations) • Improving Your Writing (www.abdn.ac.uk/sls/academicwriting/) • SLS workshops (www.abdn.ac.uk/sls/)
Centre for Learning & Teaching: www.abdn.ac.uk/clt email@example.com • Student Learning Service: www.abdn.ac.uk/sls firstname.lastname@example.org