Accredit account

April 16, 1999

The headline "A club no one wants to join" ("Analysis", THES, April 9) over a report on the responses to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals' consultation document on the accreditation of professional practice in teaching in higher education is hardly justified. Most stakeholders have welcomed the creation of the new Institute for Learning and Teaching. What is at issue is an anonymous, ill-thought-through and poorly presented consultation document. Those, like myself, who are strongly in favour of formal professional development and recognition of teachers in HE are dismayed that the tentative goodwill generated by the Booth committee's report last year has been so casually and thoughtlessly dissipated.

We cannot allow ourselves to be coerced into accepting half-baked proposals by vague threats that "politicians will intervene and impose standards" if we do not knuckle under. Nor can we ignore our experience of the many professional development courses that participants speak highly of and are subject to all the usual validation and monitoring, including external examiners' reports and Quality Assurance Agency assessment.

What is odd is that the consultation has not involved the ILT at all. Its new director of accreditation and director of membership had no hand in drafting the document, and the chief executive has yet to take up his post. But I am confident that now the ILT has such experienced staff who have a vested interest in its success this consultation "glitch" will be overcome and we will soon have a model for the recognition of HE teachers that other nations will seek to emulate.

Chris O'Hagan

Dean of learning development University of Derby

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