Unpractising preacher

June 16, 2000

I fully support the aims of the Institute for Learning and Teaching, but whatever one thinks of the merits or otherwise of "glorifying" individual "excellence in teaching", the ILT, in administering the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme (NTFS) ("Make winners of class acts", THES, June 9), has done those aims a disservice.

The ILT consulted universities and other institutions on the NTFS and was advised that the timescale was not conducive to the aims of the scheme. However, unlike the "excellent teacher" who would listen to the needs of her students on matters she could control, the ILT pressed ahead with unnecessary haste, thereby undermining the scheme.

Recently Salford's postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching in higher education was accredited by the ILT. In contrast to the NTFS, the manner in which that procedure was planned and conducted is a credit to the ILT and more akin to the attributes of excellence that the ILT espouses. The panel was thorough, professional, organised and rigorous in its approach. They exhibited the attributes of excellence identified by the ILT for the NTFS. Can the left hand please communicate with the right?

Geoff Cove. Director, education development unit, University of Salford

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