In for the long haul

September 26, 2003

The transfer of the Institute for Learning and Teaching to the new Higher Education Academy will regrettably lead to a decrease in the involvement of ordinary academics ("ILTHE vote on disbanding", THES, September 19).

However, as the ILTHE is not viable outside the academy, we recognise that transfer is the only responsible recommendation its elected council could make. Those who control the new academy - Universities UK, the Standing Conference of Principals and the funding councils - will undoubtedly push forward the white paper initiatives.

But these will not necessarily improve the status of teaching or the lot of ordinary academics. The academy will find it hard to be accepted as an independent advocate for high-quality teaching when government underfunding exerts great downward pressure on standards. The ILTHE was beginning to champion the professionalism of higher education staff. The academy has a long way to go to prove itself a worthy successor.

Philip Burgess, Paul Hudson and Niall MacKay
ILTHE council

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