ACADEME GIVES THE THUMBS UP
A survey of universities and other institutions in the sector suggests that the Higher Education Funding Council for England is held in high regard by the sector. The online survey, which had a response rate of 52 per cent, asked participants in higher and in further education to rate Hefce on its services and communications. A report of its findings suggests the funding council is performing well and says it has shown "impressive improvement" since a similar poll in 2003. It says the proportion of respondents who were "favourable" towards Hefce had risen from 76 per cent to 84 per cent in four years, and that it rated better than comparator organisations. The study found there had been improvements in the perception of Hefce's role in widening participation and support for research, while 75 per cent of participants said they were happy with the relationship between their institution and the funding council.
UK ACCESS MANAGEMENT FEDERATION
ONLINE NETWORK SURGES AHEAD
A federation of academic institutions with a shared set of policies on access to online resources has more than doubled in size in six months. The UK Access Management Federation, which is run by Janet (UK) on behalf of the Joint Information Systems Committee and Becta, unites universities and colleges with local authorities and the publishers of online resources. It has just signed its 210th member.
STRATEGY TO HELP REALISE AMBITIONS
The University Alliance has set up a new sub-group with the aim of sharing knowledge on improving the student experience and commissioning or bidding for research. Petra Wend, deputy vice-chancellor at Oxford Brookes University, will lead the group. She said: "The alliance is ideally placed to take on the student experience agenda, as its member institutions demonstrate a balanced portfolio of research, teaching, enterprise and innovation. They have clear research ambitions and do not wish to be characterised as purely teaching and learning institutions."
HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY
TEACHING PLAN UP FOR CONSULTATION
The body set up to enhance university teaching has set out its aims for the future. Raising the status of teaching, influencing policy and improving the student learning experience are among the goals of the Higher Education Academy, according to its draft strategic plan for the next five years. The academy's vision is for UK higher education to provide students "with the highest-quality learning experience in the world". Paul Ramsden, chief executive of the HEA, said: "The consultation is an opportunity to explore how the academy can best use its resource to make a real and lasting difference to the student learning experience." The consultation runs online until 18 April.