Clark makes ILT exit

July 19, 2002

The head of the Institute for Learning and Teaching is leaving amid a shake-up that raises questions about the agency's future.

Chief executive Paul Clark is returning to the Open University as pro vice-chancellor for learning technologies and teaching to replace Diana Laurillard, who is on secondment to the Department for Education and Skills. Dr Clark was dean of science at the OU from 1988-93.

Three weeks ago at the ILT's annual meeting in Edinburgh, Dr Clark assured members about the stability of the ILT and its finances.

Dr Clark's departure from the ILT, which was founded in 1999 on the back of the Dearing report's call to professionalise teaching in higher education, comes at a crucial juncture.

Sir Ron Cooke, vice-chancellor of the University of York, is leading a review looking to streamline the teaching quality enhancement work of the ILT, the Learning and Teaching Support Network, the Higher Education Staff Development Agency and the Quality Assurance Agency.

The review has been commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals. It will report on July 31.

The team is looking at five permutations. One is to split the ILT. Restructuring could result in the institute falling under the aegis of Hesda, led by Sally Neocosmos.

Staff training, accreditation of institutional programmes and occupational standards would come under Hesda. Quality enhancement would fall to the LTSN and Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund activities through the OU-based national coordination team.

Other options include:

* Maintaining the status quo but with a strategy committee acting as overseer

* Bundling the ILT with the LTSN and OU team, leaving Hesda and the QAA separate

* Linking the LTSN, the ILT and Hesda together as one agency looking after staff development and enhancement, with the QAA separate

* Setting up two bodies: one regulatory, the other for enhancement.

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