'I'm interested in ensuring staff get recognition for teaching skills'

October 13, 2006

Janet Beer, the new Oxford Brookes vice-chancellor, has a strong record in continuing professional development.

Janet Beer, named this week as the next vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, is well matched to her new institution.

Currently pro vice-chancellor for learning and teaching and continuing professional development at Manchester Metropolitan University, she is well aware that Oxford Brookes has a strong record in these areas.

"I have long been interested in ensuring that staff gain recognition for their teaching skills," she said. "At Manchester Met, we introduced a postgraduate certificate in academic practice as well as a series of masters recognising areas such as academic enterprise or research-informed teaching. I am looking forward to working with colleagues at Oxford Brookes in this area."

She is clear that continuing professional development represents a vital growth area. She said: "Oxford Brookes does a great deal of this. It is an important way to keep former students involved in the university."

Professor Beer is a board member of the Higher Education Academy and a supporter of its professional standards framework. She is a special adviser to the Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills, and has a strong national profile. But she's not keen to comment on whether the fees cap should be lifted. She said: "That will depend on what happens in the next two years."

Professor Beer is looking forward to meeting John Hood, vice-chancellor of Oxford University. "We are more concerned with educating the local workforce than a university such as Oxford, but there are areas where we can work fruitfully together."

She believes the forthcoming Leitch review of skills will be vital for universities such as Brookes. "The higher level skills agenda is crucial.

If Leitch recommends a participation rate of 65 per cent, universities such as Oxford Brookes will be instrumental in delivering that," she said.

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