Pursuing excellence 1

July 27, 2007

We should not be surprised that "Centres of excellence fail to transform learning" (July 13). Most academics know that if excellence is anything, it is usually a consequence of inspired individuals reflecting on their practice in a unique or atypical working environment.

If it is not intrinsically untransferable, it is costly and disruptive to transfer. Throwing large sums at "excellence" can even have a negative effect on the practices involved and compromise whatever excellence there was. No wonder CETLs seem to prefer to turn in on themselves. They are a distraction from the task of founding university teaching in sound pedagogic practice. Only this can be the basis for the growth of excellence.

Chris O'Hagan

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