Laments for the HEA 1

June 22, 2007

The chief executive of the Higher Education Academy says that a reduction from 30 to 15 in the total membership of the council and a reduction from 16 to four in the elected representatives of registered practitioners will “increase the input of academic teachers” (“Protest at proposed restructure of HEA”, June 15).

Currently, council has powers to “act as the visible representation of the professional association within the aca­d­emy” to “determine policy on all matters concerned with professional standards and the development of individual practitioners”, and to “set from time to time the admissions criteria for registered practitioner status”.

The abolition of these ­powers (and more) has been described by the HEA as providing a “wider remit” for council. We say that an organisation that is already dominated by “managers” will become even less representative of ordinary teaching staff.

Registered practitioners could have rejected anyone supporting these regressive proposals at the ballot box had the HEA not cancelled this year’s elections.

The HEA’s first object is “providing strategic advice and co-ordination to the HE sector, government,
funding bodies and others on policies and practices that will impact upon and enhance the student experience”. Yet the chief executive says that “resources were not part of the HEA’s remit”.

The HEA needs reform, but it needs more frontline teachers, not fewer; more democ­racy, not less. We therefore urge those practitioners/fellows who wish to retain their rights to write to the HEA board and the charity commissioners, making it clear that they do not consent to the proposed restructuring of the academy.

Philip Burgess
Paul Hudson
Former member and member of the governing council, HEA

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