07 educational character 08 12 by 7ey3ae11


									How can governors ensure a
supporting and high quality
learning environment?

Professor Craig Mahoney
Chief Executive
Higher Education Academy

The role of governors

 Governors in higher
 education have an
 increasingly wide-ranging
 role, and usually have
 responsibilities for areas
 that directly affect a
 supporting and high
 quality learning

Evolution in governance

 As the governance of universities and higher education colleges
 in the UK evolves, there are wide ranging implications for
 members of governing bodies:

 ▫ increasing expectations of governors and how they undertake their role;
 ▫ a greater focus on measuring institutional performance;
 ▫ need for a clear academic strategy and best use of information internally
   and to students and the public about all aspects of provision;
 ▫ an increasingly complex environment in which governance takes place.

 Governors need to be well prepared for the role and the
 challenges so that they can contribute effectively.

UK system
            • UK HE system is very diverse - what
              is effective governance in one
              institution might not be the same in

            • There are differences in governance
              arrangements, terminology and
              regulatory requirements in England,
              Scotland, Wales and Northern

            • Ask specific questions of your
              Secretary to find out the exact
              position of your particular HEI.

Academic governance
 Separate but related to corporate governance, which the governing body is
 responsible for.

 Structures of academic governance vary. Most HEIs have a senate or academic
 board. Typically chaired by the head of the institution who is also Chief Academic

 Responsibilities usually include:

 ▫   Approval of the content of the curriculum and new programmes
 ▫   Upholding academic standards
 ▫   Procedures for the award of qualifications
 ▫   Appointment of internal and external examiners
 ▫   Policies and procedures on examinations
 ▫   Criteria for admission of students and student discipline

 Potentially a role also in academic strategy and promotion of research but
 varies between HEIs.

Student role
               • Role of students in academic
                 governance is important

               • In the 70s a concordat was agreed
                 with the NUS over student
                 representation, giving membership to
                 students on all governing bodies and
                 senates/academic boards

               • Students are also represented as
                 part of quality assurance and
                 enhancement on faculty and
                 programme boards and play a strong
                 role in the quality assurance of all UK

Governing body responsibilities
• Governing body responsibilities
  for ensuring academic health and
  sustainability are usually defined
  in an HEI’s governing instrument
  and the financial memorandum
  with the relevant funding body.

• In post 92 HEIs there is an explicit
  responsibility for ‘determining
  educational character’. No such
  reference in pre-92 charters and

National variations
                 • Scotland - governing bodies are
                   required to approve the institutional
                   learning and teaching enhancement
                   strategy and ‘ensure that there is
                   effective planning and delivery of the
                   institution’s education programmes,
                   research and related activities, in
                   accordance with its mission’ (Source:
                   Scottish Funding Council)

                 • England - the 2010 financial
                   memorandum requires governing
                   bodies to have ‘an effective
                   framework – overseen by its senate,
                   academic board or equivalent – to
                   manage the quality of learning and
                   teaching and to maintain academic
                   standards’ (Source: HEFCE)

Governing body – ultimate
• While technical differences apply, whatever the system the governing body
  has ultimate responsibility for all the affairs of an HEI include academic
  ones and ‘shall take all final decisions on matters of fundamental concern to
  the institution’. (Source: Committee of University Chairs (2009), Guide for
  Members of HE Governing Bodies)

• The quality of the educational experiences provided to students is
  surely fundamental core business.

• In a more competitive, challenging environment it is inevitable that
  governing bodies will be much more involved in some academic matters
  than they may have been in the past – for example when parents or the
  media publicly question the quality of teaching.

Academic strategy
• A key part of determining
  educational character will be
  approving the academic
• Again varies between
  institution – some have a
  learning, teaching and
  assessment strategy and a
  separate one for research and

HR Framework
• Important role for governors is ensuring the HR framework supports
  the academic strategy. This will include issues like:

  ▫   Workload balance between teaching, research and enterprise
  ▫   Student-staff ratios
  ▫   Balance between academic and support staff
  ▫   Reward and performance review structures.
  ▫   Students, parents and employers will increasingly want to know
      that all staff who teach and support student learning are well
      trained and undertake regular CPD

Governing bodies – teaching,
learning & assessment

• Given the unprecedented
  changes in the provision
  and delivery of HE,
  governing bodies need to
  be looking ahead and
  think about whether their
  HR practices promote
  high quality teaching,
  learning and assessment.

What does a supporting and high
quality learning environment look
like in relation to learning and

• Able to meet and manage the needs of a diverse
  student population including international students

• Able to provide a flexible learning environment that
  allows students to learn in a way that suits them – pace,
  place and mode

What might be the challenges?
              • Diverse student profile brings richness of
                experience to the classroom but different
                students have different experiences of
                learning and teaching. How can a high
                quality learning environment be provided
                for all students?

              • Variation in teaching quality: no
                requirement for those who teach in HE to
                hold a professional qualification.

              • Lack of reward and recognition for
                teaching staff may lead to demotivation –
                impact on students.

 Changing Climate

• Fee and funding challenges
• Learning technologies
• Increased competition
• Employers & employability
• Reduced teaching budgets
• Growing student numbers.

We must remember…..

       Every student deserves a
       high quality learning and
    teaching experience. This is the
  responsibility of the whole university,
          including governors.

International students in UK
•   2.4 million students
•   1.9 million undergraduate
•   0.5 million postgraduate
•   120,000 other EU
•   280,000 non EU
•   180,000 academic staff
•   Outside UK 400,000 are taught on UK awards
                                  (source: HESA, 2009)

International students:
some facts & figures
• UNESCO has predicted that the number of international students
  might rise to approximately 7 million by year 2020
• Main destinations preferred by international students are the United
  States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia
• Overall, the number of international students studying degrees more
  than doubled between 2000 and 2007 to over 2 million; the United
  States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia are the
  main destination countries
• Sharpest percentage increases of international students have occurred
  in New Zealand, Korea, the Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Italy and
• In 2009, international students represented 21.5% and 15.3% of higher
  education enrolment in Australia and the UK, compared to less than
  4% in the US, according to the OECD.

Teaching International Students (TIS)

 • HEA and UK Council for
   International Student Affairs
 • Focus on staff and students,
   home and abroad
 • Helps academics understand the
   differences in educational cultures
   that can identify barriers when
   teaching international students
 • Case stories and other resources:

HEA: Internationalisation
HEA will continue to raise the profile of the importance of learning
and teaching of international students:

• Forming an Internationalisation Special Interest Group (SIG)
   from the existing TIS network
• Producing guidance material for new academic staff
   (including post graduates who teach) on teaching international students
• Facilitating a change programme on institutional policy and practice in
• Supporting teaching international students through Teaching Development
  Grants, for example David Skidmore, University of Bath “Taking turns:
  encouraging mutual engagement between International and Home students
  in small group learning discussions” and Judy Hardy, University of Edinburgh
  “A comparative study of the expectations and attainment in assessment of
  international students in science, engineering and mathematics”.

      Maintaining a high quality learning
environment: Consistency in teacher excellence
Focus on Teaching
• HE needs to prepare and
  qualify its teachers – other
  professions do this

• YouGov survey of 2047
  people aged 18+ (following
  the announcement of
  increased fees in English
  Higher Education) found
  teaching quality as the
  most important factor (71%)

         Source: YouGov, April 2011

Importance of excellent teaching:
the research evidence
• HEA research –
  ‘Dimensions of
  Quality’ by
  Professor Graham
  Gibbs - shows that
  who undertakes
  teaching is a valid
  process indicator

UK Professional Standards
Framework (UKPSF)

Shared set of standards - can contribute to consistency in

•   Comparable thresholds
•   Student reassurance
•   Not mandatory
•   HEA accredits 378 programmes in 140 HEIs in UK
•   Global potential

Reward and recognition of
teaching: the research
HEA & GENIE CETL research

• Most academics feel that the status of
  teaching is low in comparison with

• Of 104 institutions surveyed, all of
  them included research performance
  criteria as part of their promotions
  policies but only 73 included teaching
  performance criteria.

• Over 90% of academic staff think that
  teaching should be important in

Reward and recognition of
teaching: awards
• National Teaching
  Fellowship Scheme
  (England, Wales,
  Northern Ireland)

• HEA student-led
  teaching awards

Flexible learning: creating a
supporting learning environment
• Providing learners with choices
  regarding where, when, and how
  learning occurs.
• Helps to attract and meet the
  needs of an increasingly diverse
  range of students.
• Includes making appropriate use
  of technology to support the
  learning process.
• Blended approaches, Work
  Based Learning, Technology etc.

Higher Education Academy
•   Ensure a focus on improving students’ learning experiences
•   Support staff throughout their career
•   Help to create knowledge and share learning
•   Apply research and evidence to improve outcomes for students
•   Be a national voice for learning and teaching across the sector
•   Establish an international reputation for learning and teaching.

Why higher education?

• Graduates enjoy higher quality jobs
• Graduates enjoy better health
• Graduates’ children also benefit from the
  educational success of their parents
• Graduates are more influential in the community
• Graduates show more positive attitudes towards
  diversity and equal opportunities
• Graduates are a source of wider innovation and
  economic growth.

The future
Live local – Learn global
Student focused - A positive learning
Nurture Application to Graduation
Create Lifelong Learners – ‘return business’
Higher level skills focus
Work-based learning
E-learning and Open Educational Resources
Enterprise skills

To top