Staff at the Institute for Learning and Teaching are having to cope with a large rise in the number of applications from lecturers anxious to beat the deadline for the introduction of tougher admission rules.
The ILT has received 16,500 applications since it was established in 1999. A record 3,000 applications were received last week. More than two-thirds of ILT members have joined via a route for experienced staff, which requires proof of teaching, course design and assessment and personal reflection on development. Under the rule change applicants will now have to provide examples of subject research, scholarship and professional activities to support teaching and learning.
The surge in applications should help solve the ILT's financial difficulties. It recently asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England to help cover the cost of meeting its business plan and was given £250,000.
However, a £500,000 loan was put on hold pending the outcome of a review led by Sir Ron Cooke, vice-chancellor of York University, of the four agencies involved in teaching quality enhancement.
The ILT is expected to become self-financing by 2005. Income comes from accrediting institutions' lecturer training courses and fees. Paul Clark, chief executive, said that although the ILT's finances were not part of the Cooke team's discussions, Hefce wanted to see its conclusions before giving it the loan.