Marion Hersh's letter ( THES , August 3) questions the value of being a member of the Institute for Learning and Teaching, but seems to be somewhat confused, defensively conjectural and limited in its appreciation of how such membership will benefit the status and development of academics.
Rather than being fragmented and vulnerable, academics need to seek the attainment of commonly shared high standards of knowledge and practice. It is also important that such standards are recognised by government, funding and employment organisations, as well as by students and employers. This, as the national and international decline in educational standing and influence has confirmed, cannot be achieved by disparate and competing educational establishments or groups of academics. It is here that the ILT is rapidly establishing itself as the central authoritative national professional body of policy and educational influence that will increasingly benefit the status of all academics.
It should be recognised that there is a distinct difference between Hersh's referred-to bodies that accredit and audit educational courses and the accreditation requirements of the ILT. Importantly, the institute's requirements provide for improving and maintaining professional and qualitative standards of learning and teaching that benefit members individually and collectively.
With a career that embraces private and public sectors, as well as education, in Britain and North America, I have enjoyed membership of seven professional institutes, of which a number have a royal charter. However, of them all, I consider that the ILT provides me with the highest standard of relevant professional and personal support.
This is the time for academics to cease being cautious and seize the opportunities, offered by ILT membership for advancing their professional knowledge, teaching skills and status.
Senior lecturer in law and social policy