Just stop picking on the ILTHE 1

April 4, 2003

Why has The THES got its sharpened teeth into the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education? You are always printing negative articles such as Helen Beebee's "Why I" ( THES, March 28).

When I entered higher education in the late 1990s, I was surprised that lecturers had no professional body. It implied that we were individualist amateurs who never required guidance on standards.

I am the first to complain about "creeping managerialism" but if academics stopped bashing the ILTHE and joined it, there would be an even more powerful body to represent staff interests against managerial cultures that stifle good practice and innovation. It is no use saying that only teaching staff need such a body. Research is in as much danger as teaching of becoming a plaything of failed government initiatives.

The ILTHE has made significant progress in a short time. It is no government-led academic police officer. Most key officers are or were academics. The proposed establishment of a teaching academy developed from the ILTHE/ Learning and Teaching Support Network framework (Opinion, THES, March 28) is a great opportunity for academics to set their own agenda.

Mary Louise Brown
Robert Gordon University

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