I was a member of the team that awarded the original senior fellowships of the Higher Education Academy. That proved to be a very challenging task, but it taught all those involved how difficult it is to create the “perfect scheme”. As a deputy vice-chancellor, I was responsible for the introduction of an accredited scheme and the requirement for all staff to gain recognition. This did not mean reduced standards.
Yet no scheme is perfect, especially when it relies on a group of people having a common perception of what “meeting the standard” looks like (“Credibility of the UK’s teaching fellowship process under scrutiny”, News, 20 July). A few years ago, I suggested that a group be established to undertake some cross-institutional calibration. It did not happen at the time, but perhaps now we can take some lessons from the teaching excellence framework assessment process and begin such an exercise. The HEA maintains a watching brief for the quality of provision, but that does not help those involved at institutional level to understand the interpretations of the standards by the wider higher education community.
People who still have not accepted that students have the right to demand excellent teaching will not appreciate the value of recognition, or that they have a duty to improve their performance and a personal responsibility for the success of their students.