Q: I am confused by the jargon and acronyms my university is using when inviting funding bids for teaching and learning projects. Is there a guide through the maze?
A: The main national sources of funding for projects to develop teaching and learning are the national funding councils - the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), Shefc in Scotland, the HEFCW in Wales, and, in Northern Ireland, the Department for Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment (DHFETE). Funding councils operate differently. I will concentrate on Hefce.
Hefce has pulled together several teaching development initiatives under one heading, the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF). It is allocating Pounds 90 million over three years from 1999. This fund has three strands: institutional, subject and individual.
The institutional strand funds institutions to implement parts of learning and teaching strategies (ILTS or LTS). There may be funds to support departmental developments in learning and teaching.
The subject strand comprises:
* The Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL): you propose a funded teaching project up to Pounds 250,000 that will share good practice. You demonstrate good practice by scoring highly in subject review. In 2001, subjects scoring well in subject review during 1999-2000 will be eligible to bid.
* The Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP): there will be no further funding under this programme, but the results of TLTP projects are available.
* The new Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN): includes the 24 subject centres, a generic centre working on teaching and learning and a technology centre to encourage use of technology. The network provides information and support. Some subject centres have small amounts of funding for development work.
The individual strand is the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme (NTFS). Earlier this year, the NTFS awarded development grants of £50,000 to each of 20 national teaching fellows. Fellowship holders were selected by a national panel from lecturers nominated by their university. For projects to support widening participation (WP) and students with learning difficulties and disabilities (SLDD), there are separate funding arrangements.
The Innovations Fund, which recently moved from the Department for Education and Employment (DFEE) to Hefce, is funding 47 projects. There is unlikely to be a further round.
The four funding councils support projects on the effective use of information and communications technologies (ICT). They do this through the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).
Your own university will have its funding sources. Your staff or educational development unit will help you make your way through your local maze. Happy hunting.
Teaching quality enhancement fund national coordination team
Centre for Higher Education Practice
Details: TQEF: http:///www.ncteam.ac.uk
Details on regional initiatives: Scotland: http:///www.scotcit.ac.uk/related.html
Northern Ireland: http:///www.dhfeteni.gov.uk/hfe.htm