'We need to lay the right foundations. there is a lot of work to be done'

February 25, 2005

Mike Prosser hopes to boost evidence-based research when he joins the Higher Education Academy

When Mike Prosser becomes the Higher Education Academy's research director on March 1, he will lead the campaign to bring research to the heart of its work.

Like Paul Ramsden, the academy's chief executive, he is making the move from Australia's sunny climes to York.

Professor Prosser will be responsible for four main areas: supporting institutions in using evidence-based data to enhance quality; reviewing research literature; carrying out pilot research studies on teaching and learning in universities; and leading the academy's PhD and postdoctoral scholarships scheme.

He is a former associate professor and former director of Sydney University's Institute for Teaching and Learning and his own expertise is in the student learning experience, particularly in their first year. "We need to lay the right foundations there and get that right. There's a lot of work to be done," he said.

Professor Prosser is also interested in bringing the evidence base to bear on teaching and learning in universities. Pilot research studies will help embed the idea of using evidence to inform practice.

"We want (universities) to use research to think about their own situation, drawing on research literature about different surveys and then adapting them to their own needs," he said.

Professor Prosser hopes to develop strong links with the Economic and Social Research Council's teaching and learning research programme. He has his eyes on the next research assessment exercise too.

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