Ballot forms will drop through the letterboxes of the 14,500 members of the four-year-old Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education this week asking them to vote on dissolving the organisation.
The ILTHE council recommends that members transfer to the new Higher Education Academy, which will also incorporate the Learning and Teaching Support Network. The result of the ballot is expected in mid-October.
Andrea Raynor, assistant director external relations, said that a straw poll at the ILTHE's conference in July suggested most members would vote to dissolve the body. An added inducement to transfer is the cheaper membership fee, which is set at £54 a year rather than the ILTHE's £85.
ILTHE members would be renamed "registered practitioners" and should benefit from a series of discounts on academic activities and services.
Leslie Wagner, former vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University and acting chair of the academy, has been organising a business plan. Funding will come from a mix of individual and institutional subscriptions and grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The academy will be a company limited by guarantee and will apply for charitable status. It will advertise for a chief executive and three directors next month.
It aims to push forward initiatives to improve teaching quality embodied in January's white paper. It will work closely with the proposed 70 centres for excellence in teaching and learning (Cetls), which will have between £200,000 and £500,000 a year for five years, and up to £2 million in capital funding.
A Hefce consultation exercise on the selection and funding of Cetls is due to end on October 24.
The academy will also eventually take over the administration of the national teaching fellowships from the ILTHE.
Higher education minister Alan Johnson announced in July that the scheme will expand from 20 to to 50 fellowships a year in 2004.