Balancing teaching and research

April 25, 1997

THREE cheers for Alan Jenkins's suggestion (THES, April 18) that universities should professionalise HE teaching, not least by planning for quality and not simply reacting to TQA audits. This is the kind of thing teachers do in schools; why not in HE too?

In seven years as a part-time student, I have seen both good and poor teaching in universities; perhaps it is not surprising that the best (achieving excellence) has been by former classroom practitioners from the primary or secondary sector.

Teaching is not highly valued in our society, but if academe shows little respect for it, and fails to demonstrate and promote the highest levels of skills, this situation is hardly likely to improve. Research is vital, but if we do not communicate the outcomes effectively we are all wasting our time.

Janet Harvey Education management Sheffield University

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