ESCalate Bulletin No. 13 (1 February 2003)


  1. White Paper on Higher Education and Cooke Report on Quality Enhancement: Director's comments
  2. Consultation request
  3. Observatory on Borderless Higher Education
  4. News: FDTL5 bids to be invited this autumn
  5. News: Heads of Department Forum
  6. Forthcoming seminars and conferencesScottish Initial Teacher Education event: 26th March
  7. Book Reviews

White Paper on Higher Education and Cooke Report on Quality Enhancement: Director's comments

Both of these documents have a good deal to say about teaching in higher education (there is rather less about learning but perhaps that is another story). The Cooke Report puts forwards plans to amalgamate three organisations concerned with enhancing teaching - the Higher Education Staff Development Agency (HESDA), the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE) and the Learning and Teaching Support Network - into a single agency to be called the Academy for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. The Academy would encompass staff development (HESDA), teaching and learning enhancement (LTSN) and teaching standards and accreditation (ILTHE) with accreditation for all new academic staff in place by 2006. It is assumed in the Report that the Academy would operate across all four UK countries. One of the strengths of LTSN has been its UK-wide coverage so it is to be hoped that this element will be retained. The Cooke Report also recommends that higher education leadership should fall within the remit of the Academy but it is likely that this will instead go to a separate body, with HESDA's staff development functions split between the Academy and a new Leadership Foundation. This may mean that leadership of teaching and learning gets neglected. The new Academy would be funded by subscriptions from higher education institutions and higher education funding body contributions with the retention of a small individual subscription element. These income streams would be supplemented by contract income. The Academy would have a representative governing structure - HEIs, individuals, learned societies, students, employers and professional bodies - although quite how this would work remains to be seen. It would also have a small permanent administrative base, probably at York (where LTSN and ILTHE are currently based). The Academy would clearly overcome the confusion between different quality enhancement bodies which exists at present but much of its potential would depend on how it was led and which groups come to dominate its governance. If the Chief Executive was to be someone with an international reputation for research and scholarship in teaching and learning in higher education, this would have a quite different impact than if the job went to a career bureaucrat. Though it is argued in the Cooke Report that the Academy is independent, in practice given its funding base, this is unlikely. The Cooke Report recommends a speedy decision on the Academy, so that it could begin in 2004. However the start date will depend on HEIs' willingness to agree to institutional subscriptions and whether ILTHE members vote to join the Academy.
LTSN is currently funded until the end of 2004, so the development of the Academy is clearly going to be a key aspect of its future direction and funding. All the Subject Centres have been asked to think about their longer term future and how they could develop and strengthen what they currently do and how they operate - we are very interested in hearing your views about this - please send any thoughts to: in the first instance. Any LTSN-related comments you want to make on the White Paper should also be sent to Liz.

The White Paper, unlike the Cooke Report, refers only to England and Northern Ireland, although its impact is bound to be UK-wide. For instance, students from England and Northern Ireland may end up applying to Scotland to avoid the Graduate Contribution Scheme but Scotland will need to find other ways of acquiring additional funding for HEIs, if it is not to lose staff to other countries. This is not the place to summarise or critique the White Paper as many others are doing that already. It is worth noting, nevertheless, the problematic nature of the Paper's attempt to disconnect teaching and research, a connection which ESCalate and many other Subject Centres have been endeavouring to develop and which we see as a vital element in the role and purposes of higher education. Can a university really claim to be offering higher education if it is not involved in research and scholarship? What do you think about this? In other respects the White Paper is more upbeat. Those of us involved with LTSN welcome the emphasis on teaching (and also on rewarding good teaching, though here concrete proposals are rather elusive), which the White Paper demonstrates, since in the recent past research alone has tended to take centre-stage. At the same time, some of the proposals on teaching are not yet fully worked out. There is an opportunity now to have an impact on their implementation. How would you ensure that extra pay for excellent teaching ends up where it is most deserved (which may be for teams rather than individuals)? You may love, hate or feel neutral about Centres of Excellence in Teaching but there is as yet very little detail about what they will d, how bids for them will be handled and how they will relate to Subject Centres. Should they be subject-based or thematic? Should they be collaborative ventures across or within HEIs? Is giving them extra student numbers a reward or not? Why should those chosen for Centre of Excellence status receive a great deal of money whilst those given Commended Status will apparently receive nothing extra? Should staff outside the Centres have a chance to work in them? The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme is to be extended. The impact of this scheme, especially on institutions, teaching and learning outside that involving the Fellows themselves and on subject areas, has not yet been fully evaluated. What changes to the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme would you like to see? Student opinion surveys are to be given higher prominence. How can these best be organized so they include genuine views about teaching excellence rather than, for example, gender stereotypes of good teachers or those who mark more generously than colleagues? Please send any comments to as soon as possible.

Department for Education and Skills (2003). The Future of Higher Education: London, HMSO.
Cooke, R. (2003). Teaching Quality Enhancement Committee Final Report on the Future Needs and Support for Quality Enhancement of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. London, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Universities UK, Standing Conference of Principals

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Consultation request

The Philosophical and Religious Studies Subject Centre are planning to develop some guides for lecturers in HE. I know that many colleagues in Education and Continuing Education have expertise in this area, and may like to either respond to the request for feedback, or to offer additional ideas or suggestions of appropriate persons to be involved in such a venture. I hope that others do not mind the inclusion of this longish spec in the newsletter, but it seemed to have a rather generic interest for us.

Development of Religion Guides for HE Practitioners.

The religious beliefs of individuals are rarely taken into consideration when dealing with issues of widening participation and accessibility. Yet decisions made within HE can have a detrimental effect on people of faith. The PRS-LTSN is seeking to commission a series of guides that will seek to provide individuals, departments, and institutions with tips and resource information on issues relating to teaching people of faith in a HE environment. It is expected that, as well as providing basic information, these guides will also assist in issues such as recruitment, retention, widening access, course design and content, and employability. It is hoped that the first guides will appear towards the end of 2003.

A series of guides will be commissioned from academics in TRS departments, with the proviso that they will consult widely (see below) with religious and community groups and other stakeholders. The guides are intended to be 'issue centred' and will initially appear on the PRS-LTSN website, perhaps with hard copy 'fact sheet' summaries also being made available. The initial guides will focus upon Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism; after initial on-line publication they will be compiled together in a single volume that will also contain general information on teaching people of faith. It is hoped that guides for other religious groups - including Hare Krishnas, Jains, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Rastafarians - could be developed. The guides will be careful to neither promote nor denigrate the beliefs that they discuss, and will need to be conscious of religious diversity, culture sensitivity, avoidance of stereotypical assumptions, domination of specific worldview(s), and religious-cultural blurring.

These guides will be concise, resource rich sources, providing pointers for further advice, and examples of further reading. A number of case studies will also be included in each guide. The guides will include:
· Background to the religion(s)
· Background to general issues relating to faith communities in UK context
· Beliefs and practices, including important variations:
o Sensitivities
o Language
o Cultural-religious factors
o Moral and ethical dimensions
o 'Legal' aspects
o Festivals
o Gender
o Sexuality
o Dress-codes
o Issues of participation (i.e. field trips, classroom seating)
o Responses to (and of) course content (images, texts, films, critical tools)
In addition it is expected that the guides will cover the following issues:
· Accessibility
· Recruitment
· Course design and content
· Retention/pastoral care
· Employability
The web versions of the guides will include links to news, events and other resources as appropriate.

It will be expected that the PRS-LTSN and authors will consult widely on the production of the guides, including with:
· Faith, cultural and community groups
· Student groups
· Chaplains and other campus representatives
· HE practitioners from a broad range of subject areas
· Staff and educational developers
· Learning technologists

The PRS-LTSN will retain editorial control to ensure consistency across the guides, and to ensure that different perspectives (i.e. insider/outsider) are provided.

The guides will be aimed principally at supporting HE practitioners, although it is likely that wider use could be made of them. The PRS-LTSN is unaware of the existence of similar guides in other sectors.
If you would like to comment, please reply to Simon by 31 March 2003.
Dr Simon G Smith
Centre Manager
School of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Leeds
Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
Tel: 0113 343 4181
Fax: 0113 343 3654

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Observatory on Borderless Higher Education

The latest Observatory report is now available to subscribing institutions.
Mapping the Education Industry, Part 2: Public Companies- relationships with higher education by Richard Garrett, Research Associate, Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. The rise of borderless higher education is characterised by deeper and more complex relationships between commercial entities and non-profit higher education. This report provides evidence on the balance of competitive and service relationships between these two sectors. The report is available at

Other reports available on the site are:
Issue 11 - January 2003
Expanding Higher Education Capacity Through Private Growth: contributions and challenges by Daniel C. Levy, Distinguished Professor, State University of New York, Department of Educational Administration & Policy Studies, University at Albany (SUNY), and Director of the Programme for Research into Private Higher Education (PROPHE), supported by the Ford Foundation. The paper discusses the growth of private higher education internationally, explores issues of legitimacy, quality and the role of the state, and outlines some relationships between public and private institutions.

Issue 10 - October 2002
Staff Development: the key to using ICT appropriately in higher education? by Judy Roberts and colleagues from Judy Roberts & Associates, a consultancy specialising in learning technologies, based in Toronto, Canada. As universities and colleges deepen their commitment to a wide range of ICT applications, effective staff development is critical to successful implementation. The report explores the issues and gives examples of best practice in ICT-related staff development in higher education internationally.

Issue 9 - September 2002
Improving Quality and Reducing Costs: Designs for Effective Learning Using Information Technology by Dr Carol Twigg, Executive Director, Center for Academic Transformation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA; and Director of the Pew Learning & Technology Program. This report offers a critical discussion of this pioneering program that explored the quality/ cost/ access equation for online learning in higher education. The Pew program was supported by US$8.8 million from the Pew foundation.

Issue 8 - August 2002
Costing e-learning - is it worth trying or do we ignore the figures? by John Fielden of CHEMS Consulting. This report will discuss emerging costing methodologies, different types of cost and related policy and management issues. John Fielden is former Director of the Commonwealth Higher Education Management Service and a former partner at KPMG.

Issue 7 - July 2002
Corporate Universities: historical development, conceptual analysis & relations with public-sector higher education by Dr Scott Taylor and Professor Rob Paton, Open University Business School, United Kingdom. The report places the corporate university phenomenon in an historical context, discusses associated discourses (eg knowledge management) and considers possible futures for corporate universities in relation to public-sector higher education. The authors draw on work with over 40 major European corporations.

Issue 6 - June 2002
e-Learning in Asia: Supply & Demand by Alan Olsen, Director of Strategy Policy and Research in Education Pte Ltd (SPRE) in Singapore. SPRE offers research, strategy and policy advice for clients on international education, transnational education and international student programmes. The author has many years experience in the field, including work for IDP Education Australia. The report assesses demand for higher education in key Asian countries, considers a number of supply-side innovations in online learning and discusses barriers between current supply and projected demand.

Issue 5 - May 2002
Barriers, Borders & Brands: Forging an Institutional Strategy for Development and Collaboration in Borderless Higher Education by Professor Aldwyn Cooper, Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Learning Development at the University of Glamorgan, Wales, United Kingdom. Professor Cooper has extensive public and private experience of developing distance learning and leads the initiative that is the subject of this report, Enterprise College Wales, a UK£6.3 million venture to bring relevant online learning, with a business and management focus, to Wales. Glamorgan's membership of the Global University Alliance is also discussed, as part of a wide-ranging consideration of the University's ongoing strategy to embrace a borderless future.

Issue 4 - April 2002
Intellectual Property, The Internet & Higher Education by Dr Dennis Farrington, Secretary-General of the SEE University, Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia, and previously Deputy Secretary of the University of Stirling, Scotland. Dr Farrington is an expert in the field of higher education law and organises UCELNET, the Universities and Colleges Education Law Network (UK). IPR law, in particular copyright, in academic institutions is one of his specialised areas of interest.

Issue 3 - March 2002
Trade in Higher Education Services: The Implications of GATS by Dr. Jane Knight. This issue examines the GATS talks (General Agreement on Trade in Services) at the World Trade Organisation, and the implications for higher education. Dr. Jane Knight is the author of several national, comparative and international studies on internationalization and higher education. Progress and Promise: The AUCC report on Internationalization at Canadian Universities (AUCC, 2000) and Quality and Internationalisation in Higher Education (IMHE/OECD, 1999) are two recent ones. Currently the focus of her research is the impact of globalization on higher education with a special interest in trade liberalization, quality and governance.

Issue 2 - February 2002
Emerging indicators of success and failure in borderless higher education by Dr Yoni Ryan, Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre, Queensland University of Technology. Dr Ryan was part of the groundbreaking 1998 Australian study on borderless education ('New Media & Borderless Education' funded by the former Australian Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs). Recent work has included a market study for the UK e-University.

Issue 1 - January 2002
Trading Public Good in the Higher Education Market by Professor Frank Newman and Lara K Couturier of the 'Futures Project: policy for higher education in a changing world', a higher education think-tank funded by the Ford Foundation and based at Brown University, USA.

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News: FDTL5 bids to be invited this autumn

HEFCE have announced that the next phase of the Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning will be activated this Autumn. This will include Education Departments. ESCalate will endeavour to provide assistance to any departments seeking partners or needing help with bids etc. Watch this space for the developing story. We shall also have a special place on our website for FDTL5 discussions and information.

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News: Heads of Department Forum

The Heads of Department Forum, held on 18th February, was a very interesting day. Sixty-five or so Heads or their Deputies assembled to discuss how they mange the balance between research and teaching in Education Departments. We were fortunate to have some very distinguished speakers. Rosemary Deem, Director of ESCalate, welcomed participants with a brief overview of the wider context. Stephen McNair, Head of Department at Surrey, then drew a clear picture of what some of the challenges are for HoDs: a sobering list. This was followed by three 'vignettes' of how departments manage the balance. Bridget Durning from Oxford Brookes, reported on some research which had asked a range of departments how they manage the links between teaching and research. Martin Hughes, University of Bristol, looked at how the balance is achieved in a research intensive department, and Peter Newby, University of Middlesex, looked at the questions from the point of view of a teaching intensive department. Sally Brown, Emeritus Professor, University of Stirling, (and a former HoD) and Chair of the 2001 RAE Panel, was the first of the keynote speakers, gave a powerful argument supporting the need for teachers in HE to be research aware and active. The second keynote speaker, Andy Hannan, University of Plymouth, Rolle School of Education, described the challenges faced by developing research departments during the last 3 RAEs. Groups of HoDs then discussed the issues arising.
A full report of the proceedings is being prepared and will be included in the March Bulletin and posted on the website.

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Forthcoming seminars and conferencesScottish Initial Teacher Education event: 26th March

Reminder to all that this event is fast filling up. Some of you have had problems downloading the application form. If you have difficulties, contact either or where Liz will send you the form.

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Book Reviews

Sue Battin has just done a further trawl of the publishers sand new books are pouring in. If you are interested in reviewing (and keeping the book) do contact, our Book Reviews co-ordinator, and she will send you a list of what we have on offer.

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