London Met smashes teaching quality target

University well above sector average for Higher Education Fellowships in early Strategic Plan success.

Date: 25 February 2016

London Metropolitan University has more academics with Higher Education Academy fellowships than the sector average, new figures show.

Over 40% of academics at London Met are HEA fellows, compared to a sector average of 23%, highlighting the quality of teaching at the University.

Speaking in the Times Higher Education in 2015, Professor John Raftery, Vice Chancellor of London Met, said he was aiming for “100 per cent of our academic staffing establishment to have, or be working towards a Higher Education Academy fellowship or other qualification for university teaching.”

The aim was set out in the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020, published last year, and the University’s initial target was achieving 50% by the end of the academic year 2015/16.

That target has been smashed, with 65% of academics now having Higher Education Academy fellowships or HESA-standard teaching qualifications.

The project has been led by Associate Professor Digby Warren, Head of London Met’s Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.

He said: “There is no doubt in my mind about the benefits to be gained from completing a Higher Education teaching qualification or process of professional recognition.

“Some of the key feedback we’ve had from our own courses is that colleagues learn a lot from their peers working in different subject areas, so the collaborative and reflective nature of this activity really helps staff to develop their pedagogy and practice.

“There’s been a long-standing recognition, ever since the Dearing Report, that Higher Education teaching should be professionalised and it’s becoming common for universities to now require lecturer candidates to have qualifications, such as the PG Certificate. I think this early success reflects London Met’s commitment to enhancing learning and teaching and also the professional development of our staff.”

London Met runs a number of courses and modules free of charge to academic staff to enable them to get a recognised qualification, including the PG Cert and MA in Learning and Teaching in HE – through which they can qualify for HEA fellowships.

“We’ve also made our Associate Fellowship course available to our PhD students,” added Digby.

Janette Harris, Course Organiser for BA Interior Design, joined London Met in 2005 after working in industry for 18 years, and immediately joined the University’s learning and teaching scheme.

“The various courses helped to develop our personal process and practice, while providing insight into other disciplines approaches.  Collaboration and exchange of ideas were at the heart of the modules, encouraging innovation while understanding the philosophy and models of education historically and for the 21st Century learner and tutor. It was an incredibly exciting and stimulating point of my career, and I am endeavouring to maintain the notion of ‘life long’ learning’ through my teaching.

“The staff teaching the modules were excellent, each brought a rich range of approaches, allowing us to create our own voice.”    

This early success for the Strategic Plan is good news both for students, who can be assured of teaching standards, and staff, who receive professional development.

The project is part of the University’s wider Programme for Improved Student Outcomes (PISO) which aims to enhance student success during and after their studies at London Met.