According to a survey, staff and students in universities are reluctant to seek help for mental health problems. The Guardian’s Clare Shaw finds that they are worried about being treated differently if they reveal that they have been suffering from mental illness.
Jo Johnson’s proposal for a TEF similar to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) has stirred up both approval and dissent amongst university staff. The REF was seen as skewing the focus of universities too far in the direction of high status research and away from the student experience. Will this address the balance or lead to similar problems? Problems such as the hiring fair scenario of well-respected teaching experts being wooed to well-resourced universities in advance of the data collection cut off for each TEF period.
There should be much debate about how teaching excellence is measured and the design of a metrics system to deliver robust information. Given that the final result will probably be a league table of universities – a further step toward the consumer model of education – the quick route would be to use data already available such as: HEA membership, teaching qualification, National Student Survey results, student retention, student results. This, of course, sidesteps the wider debate about what Teaching Excellence might actually be and how one might measure it.
Times Higher Education have published their University Workplace Survey 2015. The results show that while the majority of university staff have a high level of job satisfaction, a lot of academics feel under too much pressure. Overall, academics are less satisfied in their roles than in the 2014 survey, whereas employees in support or professional roles are actually more satisfied. However, it seems that universities don’t value their employees’ opinions as much as they should, and there are also issues with university pensions.
An article in The Guardian asks the question: should Googling in exams be allowed? They present two opposing views from two different people:
Lola Okolosie thinks this approach may work better in some subjects than others, such as geography and history. She also makes the point that students will still need a solid knowledge foundation in order to quickly find what they are looking for on Google.
Chris McGovern thinks that this would be a step backwards, and that it undermines the importance of subject knowledge.