UCoSDA is a guide

May 23, 1997

TWO points in Alison Utley's engaging but in places misleading piece "Battle over training models" (THES, May 2) need clarifying. First, I have not sent questionnaires to academics in Scotland. The project is led by the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals; their project researcher has distributed the sheets. The Universities and Colleges Staff Development Agency is involved by invitation, as an expert agency in professional development to support CoSHEP.

Second, these questionnaires have not yet been analysed. The quote on academics' preferences relates to another UCoSDA project.

Finally, in response to the combative tone of the article, UCoSDA has never seen this as a competitive area. Our role is to give guidance and support to a wide range of diverse institutions in respect of award-bearing and non-award-bearing programmes of professional development for all staff.

We seek to ensure the best possible learning opportunities for students through the most effective means of preparing and developing teaching staff.

The approach in Scotland of a consultative, research-based project led by CoSHEP, funded by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, advised by professional agencies/associations and steered by representatives from Scottish institutions, would be highly appropriate to other parts of the UK. Collaboration is the key to progress; competition is both inappropriate and inhibiting.

Patricia Partington, Executive director, UCoSDA

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