Memorandum from the Higher Education Funding
Council for England (HEFCE) (HE 33)
How is quality in teaching and learning defined?
1. There is no single definition of quality.
The word is normally used in higher education (HE) to refer to
the nature of the experience which students have while studying
for an HE qualification. Within the terms of the quality assurance
process, it refers to the extent to which that experience matches
up with sector-wide expectations of the success of the university
or college in enabling the student to learn in a way which meets
the student's needs and the institution's objectives. The Quality
Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is currently developing
benchmark statements setting out the sector-wide standards of
attainment expected in each subject area.
How is teaching quality measured and assured?
The Select Committee welcomes comments on the work of the Quality
Assurance Agency (QAA).
2. Section 70 of the Further and Higher
Education Act 1992 requires the Higher Education Funding Council
for England (HEFCE) to:
(a) secure that provision is made for assessing
the quality of education provided in institutions for whose activities
it provides, or is considering providing, financial support; and
(b) establish a Quality Assessment Committee
with the function of giving advice to the HEFCE Board on the discharge
of that duty and such other functions as the Board may confer
3. From our establishment in 1992 until
the setting up of the Quality Assurance Agency in 1997, we discharged
this duty directly through our Quality Assurance Division. That
developed a method of assessing the quality of courses known as
"Teaching Quality Assessment" (TQA). The main elements
of the method are:
(a) Assessments are carried out by "peer
review"ie most reviewers are practising academics
drawn from universities and colleges and working in the same subject
area, rather than a full-time inspectorate. Generally a team of
four to five peers will visit the institution for four days to
review the institution's documentation relating to the quality
of the programme; to observe teaching and learning; to talk to
staff, students and (often) employers of graduates from the programme;
and to review facilities and resources.
(b) Assessments focus on the quality of the
student experience while on the course, rather than standards
of achievement attained by students at the end of the course.
(c) Assessments are made by reference to
how well the course meets the objectives which the individual
institution has set for it, rather than by reference to absolute,
(d) Following the review, a report is published
setting out the reviewers' findings and conclusions, including
identification of strengths and weaknesses.
4. The TQA method evolved over time. Two
changes, introduced in 1995, were:
(a) To cover in all reviews six common aspects
of qualitycurriculum design, content and organisation;
teaching, learning and assessment; student progression and achievement;
student support and guidance; learning resources; and quality
management and enhancement.
(b) To assign each of those six aspects a
rating on a four point scale, where one indicates that the programme
is not meeting the provider's aims and objectives and there are
major shortcomings, and four indicates that the programme is fully
meeting the provider's aims and objectives. Those ratings are
included in the published report.
5. This method continues to apply in England,
and will carry on until all subject areas have been reviewed,
scheduled for December 2001. The HEFCE Quality Assessment Committee
meets around six times a year, and considers at each meeting the
latest results of TQA reviews. In any case where a programme is
assigned a one rating, it will be re-visited within a year for
further review, with financial sanctions potentially applied if
the necessary improvement is not demonstrated at re-review.
6. In addition to TQA, the other major mechanisms
for assessing and assuring quality in higher education are as
(a) Each university and college which has
the power to award degrees is responsible for maintaining the
standard of those degrees. This responsibility is central to the
university's or college's purpose as a self-governing academic
community. Universities and colleges discharge this responsibility
through a variety of internal procedures involving individual
staff, departmental and faculty committees, and central review
and approval mechanisms which track programmes from initial approval
for their introduction through annual review exercises and periodic
more fundamental reviews. These procedures vary from institution
to institution. But we believe that one effect of TQA has been
to encourage universities and colleges to be more systematic and
rigorous in their internal approach, because their internal "Quality
Management and Enhancement" procedures are one of the aspects
which TQA assesses.
(b) All universities and colleges with degree-awarding
powers appoint one or more external examiners for every course
they offer. The external examiner is appointed from another institution,
and has the core role of reviewing whether, in assessing students
and awarding qualifications, the institution is applying standards
and expectations of attainment consistent with those applying
in higher education generally.
(c) There is also a well-established mechanism,
known as "institutional audit", for external review
of institution-wide procedures relating to quality and standards.
This was originally developed by the Higher Education Quality
Control (HEQC), an independent body established by the representative
bodies of the HE sector. As with TQA, institutional audit is conducted
by a team of peers drawn from other universities and colleges.
Following the review, a report is published which describes the
team's findings, and identifies strengths and weaknesses.
(d) Many HE coursesfor example, in
medicine and engineeringare also accredited by the relevant
professional body. Typically, the professional body identifies
the competences, skills and knowledge which graduates from the
course will need in order to successfully practice in the profession;
gives recognition to those courses which it judges to provide
a satisfactory preparation for professional practice; and periodically
reviews whether or not the courses continue to provide such preparation.
7. Originally TQA and institutional audit
were separate processes undertaken by separate bodies. This position
was reviewed in 1996 by a Joint Planning Group comprising representatives
of the main HE interests. That led to the establishment in 1997
of a new, single body which would operate both processes in a
more co-ordinated waythe Quality Assurance Agency for Higher
Education (QAA). We contract with the QAA for the continuing delivery
of TQA, while subscriptions from universities and colleges pay
for institutional audit.
8. In 1997 the report of the National Committee
of Inquiry into HE, chaired by Lord Dearing, made a series of
recommendations relating to the assessment and assurance of HE
quality and standards (see particularly Chapter 10 of the main
report). The QAA launched in March 1998 a fundamental review of
the quality assurance framework. The detail of that framework
is still being refined. But the principles are clear, and have
been endorsed by the HEFCE and the other HE funding bodies as
the basis for new arrangements which will be introduced in England
and Northern Ireland from January 2002.
9. That framework is set out in detail in
the QAA publication "Higher Quality Bulletin 6", published
in November 1999. The main principles are:
(a) To review both quality (the nature of
the student experience) and standards (what students achieve).
(b) To have a single integrated process which
covers both course review and insitutional-level review, so that
judgements on individual subjects inform judgements on the institution's
overall effectiveness in maintaining quality and standards, and
(c) To move away from a single, snapshot
visit towards a more extended engagement over the course of a
year between reviewers and the institution, with the reviewers
drawing as far as possible on evidence which the institution has
already produced for its own purposes.
(d) To vary the intensity of scrutiny in
accordance with the principle of "intervention in inverse
proportion to success", such that reviewers will spend less
time reviewing institutions with a proven track record of high
quality, releasing resources for more intensive scrutiny of institutions
where there are concerns.
(e) To publish the results of the reviews
in a form which promotes improvement, which provides external
audiences with clear and straightforward information, and which
is a valid summation of the range of factors involved.
(f) To reduce the burden of external quality
assurance on universities and colleges to the minimum compatible
with rigour and consistency.
10. Beyond the formal TQA process, other
aspects of quality are measured and reported on, for example by
the Higher Education Management Statistics reports and the performance
indicators produced by the Funding Councils (see HEFCE publication
99/66). The performance indicators include an indicator of student
outcomes, measured against a benchmark which takes account of
each institution's student characteristics. In due course they
will also include indicators of employment success.
The extent to which teaching quality varies
between different disciplines and institutions (and types of institution);
how quality of teaching has been and is likely to be affected
by the continuing increase in participation in HE; the impact
(benefits/drawbacks) of employing graduate and undergraduate students
in teaching; and how developments such as the ILT might improve
11. Given the complexity of higher education
some variation is inevitable. The tables at Annex A give the available
breakdown of TQA data from the current round of subject review
(a) Type of institution, classified as pre-1992
universities formerly funded by the Universities Funding Council
(UFC); post-1992 universities and HE colleges formerly funded
by the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (PCFC); and further
education colleges funded by the HEFCE for HE programmes.
(b) Subject area. Some of the cells represent
a very small number of visits, so too much weight should not be
placed on individual results.
12. In terms of comparisons between types
of institution, the following main factors stand out:
(a) There is virtually no difference between
ex-UFC and ex-PCFC institutions in terms of the quality of their
teaching, learning and assessment processes.
(b) Although overall the student progression
and achievement aspect is rated highly, there is a significant
difference between ex-UFC and ex-PCFC institutions. That may reflect
in part the tendency of the ex-UFC institutions to recruit more
highly qualified students who would in general be expected to
attain higher levels of absolute achievement at the end of their
programme. But it may also reflect the greater challenge faced
by the ex-PCFC institutions in supporting their more diverse student
intake to enable them to progress through to successful completion
of the programme. Student non-completion, as well as degree class,
is closely correlated with qualifications on entry. The new HEFCE
funding programme on widening participation should help over time,
by giving institutions more resource to support such students
(see paragraph 34).
(c) There is also a difference between ex-UFC
and ex-PCFC institutions in the aspect which assesses learning
resources, which may in part reflect the generally poorer physical
inheritance of the ex-PCFC universities and colleges. We have
been seeking to address this through the poor estates initiative
(see HEFCE publication 99/51).
13. The tables also point up a differential
in the relative performance of further education colleges (FECs)
which provide HE programmes funded by the HEFCE. This finding
needs to be treated with care because it is based on a very small
sample (just 18 visits, and only covering provision greater than
30 full-time equivalent students). It also conceals wide differentiation,
with some collegesparticularly the specialist FE collegesgetting
14. Our policy is to address this differential
through a series of measures, notably by encouraging FE colleges
to work in partnership with HE institutions in delivering and
developing their HE programmes.
by incorporating FE colleges over
a period of time within our general funding method in a way which
allocates the same level of resources to all the HE we fund, irrespective
of whether that is in FE colleges or HE institutions;
by introducing a specific development
fund to help FE colleges raise the quality of learning and teaching
in their HE programmes;
by working with the QAA to ensure
more comprehensive coverage of HE provision in FECs within the
15. In the period between 1988 and 1998
student participation rates doubled from 15 per cent to over 30
per cent but the amount of funding per student declined by 35
per cent. Any further per capita reductions will risk damaging
the high quality and standards of education that have been maintained
so far, and it is essential that funding per student is kept at
an acceptable level.
16. Any further expansion of HE must not
erode funding levels if we are to avoid recreating the funding
crisis which was experienced in the mid-1990s and which led to
the National Inquiry into HE led by Lord Dearing. With that proviso,
there are good reasons to plan for a significant increase in student
numbers: it is likely that there will be strong demand from students
who can benefit from HE, and it will be in the national interest
to satisfy that demand. If students from disadvantaged backgrounds
were to increase their participation to that of the average for
all groups, then this will require an additional 100,000 HE places.
17. The student population has become much
more diverse and will continue to be so. There are more mature
students, with a variety of backgrounds and qualifications, and
more people from previously under-represented groups such as women,
ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. We are also encouraging
higher education institutions (HEIs) to recruit and retain more
students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We know that such students
cost more to provide for and this will need to be recognised as
funds are allocated for the expansion of HE.
18. Further changes will be needed to respond
to the demands of a diverse population. There is likely to be
increasing demand for:
(a) Courses other than the consecutive three
or four year degree.
(b) Access to HE all year round.
(c) Professional updating and life-long learning.
(e) More flexible ways to study, such as
work-based learning, modular and part-time courses and distance
19. We do not have comprehensive evidence
of changes in the quality of teaching over time. However, there
is some evidence relating to non-completion, or drop out. In 1996
the Department of Education and Science estimated this to be running
at 16 per cent. The performance indicators for the most recent
cohort of students for which an estimate was possible1996-97estimated
non-completion to have increased to 18 per cent. In the meantime,
the participation of young students had more than doubled and
the number of mature students greatly increased. A recent OECD
review estimated that non-completion in the United Kingdom was
lower than that in any industrialised country other than Japan.
This aspect of quality appears to have been maintained reasonably
well as participation has increased.
20. Technology provides an opportunity for
institutions to respond to the demands of students in terms of
where and when they study. As a consequence, institutions will
have to consider:
(a) Changes to the way courses are organised
(b) New teaching and learning methods.
(c) How to assess and support students effectively.
(d) A more customer-oriented approachstudents
who are paying for their education are likely to place new demands
on HE providers.
(e) Implications for staff development of
increased pressures on staff.
21. There is a great deal of potential to
exploit technology for teaching and learning. Studies which we
have commissioned demonstrate some of the benefits of communications
and information technology (C & IT) in HE and there is clearly
greater potential to exploit this to improve flexibility and quality
(see HEFCE publications 99/39 and 99/60). However, there is no
evidence of cost reduction as a result of investment in C &
22. Centrally funded programmes to encourage
innovation and good practice in teaching and learning should continue
and perhaps be expanded. We are spending around £30 million
per annum on specific funding for this purpose.
23. We have no specific data or evidence
relating to the impact of employing graduate and undergraduate
students in teaching. However, when the issue was raised with
our Learning and Teaching Committee, members commented that this
practice has both positive and negative aspects. The positive
aspect is that peer learning is believed to contribute towards
the development of transferable skills among students. However,
the negative aspect is that students may represent a cheap but
inexperienced teaching option for HEIs.
24. We have been a prominent supporter of
the ILT since the idea was first promoted in the Dearing Report.
We have worked closely with the other funding bodies and the HE
sectorin particular the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and
Principals (CVCP), the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP)
and teaching unionsto establish the ILT. We have committed
£2 million over the five year period 1998-2003 to meet the
set-up costs and support the work of the ILT, which has a number
of functions directed at improving the quality of teaching in
HE. We are very keen to see the ILT become a success and we hope
institutions will seek ILT accreditation for their staff and encourage
them to become ILT members.
25. The ILT will contribute to improving
the quality of teaching in the following ways:
(a) The mechanisms of accreditation of staff
development courses that the ILT is operating will bring a measure
of external scrutiny and standardisation to the process of training
staff in HE, that has not previously existed. External evaluation
will also stimulate internal review to assure that training is
effective in meeting its objectives.
(b) The ILT will require its members to undertake
a programme of continuing professional development in order to
remain in good standing with the Institute. This will break entirely
new ground with the academic community in requiring continuing
reflection and improvement in their performance as teachers or
facilitators of learning.
(c) The ILT will provide its members with
access (online and in paper form) to information, guidance and
examples of good practice over the full range of issues in teaching,
learning and assessment in HE. This will draw on UK and international
sources of research and good practice.
(d) The ILT will bring to its members the
best examples of the results and processes of pedagogic research
(e) The ILT's policy of inclusiveness in
membership will mean that it will become a forum in which the
various types of staff member who contribute to the student learning
environment (academic, graduate teaching assistant, learning technologist)
can meet and discuss issues unhampered by institutional hierarchies.
(f) The close working association of the
ILT with the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) will
ensure that the work of the Subject Centres and the Generic Learning
and Teaching Centre will be transmitted to a wider audience and
that the many and complex issues surrounding the use of C&IT
in teaching and learning are discussed and progressed in the wider
academic forum of the ILT (see paragraph 37).
Institutional arrangements, and their contribution
to the quality of the teaching and learning experience. For instance,
the balance between teaching and research; traditional universities
as oppose to non-traditional; HE outside universities.
26. All HEIs engage in teaching, and the
majority engage in research to some extent. However, the balance
between the two activities varies considerably, determined in
part by the mission of the institution concerned, but in large
part by the research funds received. HEFCE funds for research
are allocated extremely selectively (as are funds provided by
research councils, industry and charities) as the chart at Annex
B shows. The balance of activities within institutions necessarily
reflects this. We do not expect all institutions to carry out
high quality research throughout the range of their provision,
but we do expect high quality teaching throughout.
27. In October 1999 we commissioned a study
to investigate the relationships between teaching, research and
other activities of universities and colleges of higher education.
This is one of a series of research and consultancy projects intended
to underpin and provide the evidence base for the work of the
HEFCE Fundamental Review of Research.
28. The remit of the study is to explore
six aspects of these relationships:
(a) The extent of any cross-subsidy between
teaching, research and other activities.
(b) The benefits of shared facilities etc.
(c) Interactions at the level of institutional
policy and practice.
(d) Interactions in the classroom and the
workshop or laboratory.
(e) Links to research training and the impact
of policies in this area.
(f) International comparisons and evidence.
FORMER PCFC/UFC FUNDED
29. We make no funding distinction between
ex-UFC and ex-PCFC funded institutions, but recognise that the
higher education sector is characterised by a wide diversity of
institutions, each with its own distinctive mission and focus.
Some institutions are research focused, some aim to strike a balance
between teaching and research, while others are primarily focused
on teaching. We are currently investigating the relationship between
teaching and research as part of the fundamental review of research.
By and large, those institutions with a strong research focus
are former UFC universities, reflecting their history of research
activity and funding. However, many former PCFC universities have
developed areas of research strength, some in a number of fields.
30. It is generally thought that teaching
at the highest level will be improved if delivered in an environment
in which research is being conducted. However, we have no evidence
that this is the case for teaching at the lower levelthe
first year of a degree of diploma level qualifications. What is
more important in teaching is that different institutions should
adopt approaches which meet the divergent needs of their student
populations. For example, whilst the teaching-intensive, student-focused
approach of further education colleges and some of the former
PCFC universities and colleges benefits some students, it is possible
that more able, self-motivated students benefit from a different
How does the way in which funding is allocated
to HE affect the nature of teaching and learning? What is, and
what should be, the role of the HEFCE in this respect?
31. We use formulae to determine how funding
is allocated between institutions. These take account of certain
factors for each institution, including the number and type of
students, the subjects taught, and the amount and quality of research
undertaken there. After the amount of funding is determined, it
is provided in the form of a block grant (see Annex C). Institutions
are free to allocate their grant according to their own priorities
within broad guidelines. We do not expect institutions to model
their internal allocations on our own funding method.
32. In distributing the funds, we aim to
meet the needs of students, employers and the nation by promoting
high quality teaching. Our allocation method for teaching funds
similar activities at similar rates for all HEIs, and ensure that
any variations are for explicit and justifiable reasons. This
means that a student studying a subject at one institution can
expect to have available to him or her a similar level of public
resources as a student studying the same subject at another institution.
In addition, the teaching funding method supports our policy to
increase opportunities for a wide range of people to enter higher
education. It takes account of the extra cost of providing for
certain types of student, such as part-timers and mature undergraduates,
and supports diversity by recognising the extra costs of specialist
colleges. We have also introduced a funding supplement for students
from disadvantaged groups, which recognises the additional costs
of recruiting and retaining such students.
33. Although the teaching funding method
calculates grants in some detail, the funds are nevertheless provided
to institutions as a block grant. It is important that they exercise
management judgements about the expenditure of this grant and
do not simply follow the details of the HEFCE method in their
internal resource allocation. There is inherent flexibility in
the funding method which means that institutions may change the
balance of their provision, between full-time and part-time for
example, or between subjects, without incurring penalties. The
main area of inflexibility is in the number of full-time and sandwich
students, which is subject to control in order to remain within
the total of such students fixed by the Government.
34. Although the great majority of funding
(over 90 per cent) is allocated through block grant, separate
funding is reserved for initiatives designed to promote national
policies (see Annex D). The policy objective to widen participation
in higher education is an example of this. In 1999-2000, £7.5
million will be allocated through a special funding programme
to help develop partnerships between HE, schools and community
groups, to disseminate and embed good practices, and to continue
to improve provision for students with disabilities (see HEFCE
35. We also have a special funding initiative
to support the delivery of our learning and teaching strategythe
Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF). The TQEF directs funds
at three levels: the institution, the subject and the individual.
£26 million will be allocated to the TQEF in 1999-2000, £31
million in 2000-01 and £32 million in 2001-02. This initiative
ensures that funds will be provided to all HEIs to encourage development
and enhance the quality of learning and teaching (see HEFCE publication
36. The institutional strand of the TQEF
supports HEIs in developing and implementing their strategies
to improve teaching and learning. To support institutions in preparing
and implementing their learning and teaching strategies we have
produced a comprehensive good practice guide (HEFCE publication
99/55). Funding for this strand is expected to be around £14.5
million in 1999-2000, £17 million in 2000-01 and £18
million in 2001-02. The allocation of funds to each institution
will be determined formulaically using the standard resource for
teaching funding as the base and it is for each institution to
determine how the money will be spent in furtherance of its strategy.
37. The subject strand of the TQEF has two
funding streams: the UK wide Learning and Teaching Support Network
(LTSN) and phase three of the Fund for the Development of Teaching
and Learning (FDTL). The LTSN aims to provide a "one-stop-shop"
to promote high quality learning and teaching via subject-based
support for sharing innovation and good practice. The FDTL links
the results of TQA to the allocation of funds, helping institutions
which have demonstrated best practice to disseminate it as widely
as possible throughout the sector.
38. The individual strand of the TQEF is
designed to recognise and reward individual academics who have
demonstrated excellence in learning and teaching. This entails
creating (jointly with the ILT) a National Teaching Fellowship
Scheme and encouraging institutions to implement their own reward
and recognition schemes for staff, as part of their learning and
teaching strategies. In part, this scheme is designed to raise
the status and prestige of teaching.
39. Indirectly funded provision which HEIs
deliver through partnership arrangements with FECs are also included
in calculating special funding allocations. FECs with higher education
programmes funded directly by the HEFCE will receive support from
a separate development fund to enhance the quality of their HE
learning and teaching.
How do different models of attendance affect the
quality of teaching and learning experience (eg full time, part-time,
distance learning via ICT and other forms of flexible learning,
including credit-based systems).
40. We believe that a variety of modes of
learning and teaching will help open up higher education opportunities
to a wider range of students and will help to deliver our goal
on widening participation. In particular, increasing availability
of credit-based systems will help to achieve this.
The effect of changing patterns of student support
and student income on the quality of learning (loans, fees, and
the continuing increase in the time students spend in employment/part-time
jobs, during courses)
41. The issue of student loans and fees
is a matter for the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE).
However, we are monitoring the effects of the new student support
and fee arrangements.
How accountable are universities for the quality
of the student learning experience? How will it change as students
become more demanding?
42. Universities and HE colleges are highly
accountable, through the following mechanisms:
(a) The publication of TQA and institutional
audit reports, covering all subject areas and all institutions
(see paragraphs 3-6). Those reports are distributed widely by
(b) The further dissemination of review outcomes
by third parties, including the compilers of student guides.
(c) As a result of these two factors, there
is a well informed, generally mobile, and highly discriminating
set of "customers"primarily, those applying for
HE courses and the employers of graduates. Recent independent
studies have shown that information about quality is by no means
the only, or even the most significant, determinant of choices.
But it is one factor, and the competitive market in recruitment
to HE means that universities and colleges take the review results
(d) Direct follow up by the QAA and the HEFCE
as necessary, of TQA results assigned a poor rating (see paragraph
(d) The work of the professional bodies in
accrediting HE courses (see paragraph 6d).
(e) The reports which external examiners
prepare each year on the courses they are examining, which are
generally submitted to the vice-chancellor or senior management,
with a formal process for consideration and follow up of examiners'
comments. These arrangements will be further strengthened through
the code of practice on external examining which the QAA is preparing.
(f) The extensive internal procedures which
universities and colleges have for securing accountability, including
use of student feedback on the quality of courses, and the role
of Academic Boards/Senates.
(h) The performance indicators recently introduced
by the funding bodies. These contribute to the public accountability
of higher education by providing better and more reliable information
on the nature and performance of the sector. These indicators
allow comparison between individual institutions and enable them
to benchmark their own performance. Once indicators have been
available for a number of years it will be possible to track changes
over time in the sector and in individual institutions. The initial
set of indicators covers aspects of teaching and learning and
research (see HEFCE publication 99/66).
To what extent are universities involved with
their local communities? Would more work in this area have an
impact on the nature of the student experience?
43. HEIs have a direct impact upon, or involvement
with, their local communities in a number of significant ways
(a) As providers of skilled manpower in local
and regional labour markets including graduates who originate
from, or decide to remain in, the region; and post-experience
provision at Masters level and through continuing professional
(b) Related to this, through various forms
of collaboration with local businesses and employers in developing
and delivering academic programmes. These interactions range from
the commissioning or sponsorship of courses and students, through
involvement in course planning, staff exchanges including visiting
lectureships and the secondment or placement of academic staff,
to arrangements such as Teaching Company Schemes and work experience
placements where students spend time in local businesses.
(c) As major local employers. In a number of
cities or sub-regions the local HEIs are among the largest employers,
providing a very broad range of opportunities from highly skilled
professional posts to jobs in catering or buildings maintenance.
(d) As both consumers and providers of a
range of cultural and leisure facilities. The presence of one
or more HEIs can considerably increase the client group for such
facilities. Institutions are increasingly willing to share their
own facilities with local residents, especially where a mutually
beneficial relationship can be established. Many HEIs find that
they can use their accommodationboth residential student
accommodation and specialist conference facilitiesto generate
valuable income, with the knock-on effect of attracting visitors
with money to spend into the area.
44. We are funding a new project, in partnership
with the CVCP, to examine the range of ways in which HEIs contribute
to their regions. The project is being undertaken by the Centre
for Urban and Regional Development Studies at the University of
45. Some of the above elements offer more
scope than others for enhancing the student experience. HEIs are
increasingly concerned to improve the volume and effectiveness
of their interactions with local and regional business through
a range of activities including:
(a) As providers of research, training and
(b) Placing their students in businesses
for structured work experience.
(c) Bringing people in from business to help
improve the institution's capacity to respond to the needs of
the business community.
46. The joint HEFCE/DTI Reach-Out to Business
and the Community Fund has made special grants to institutions
to increase their capability to engage in such activities (see
HEFCE publications 99/40 and 00/05). Virtually all of the activities
supported by the fund will benefit the student experience directly
or indirectly. By fostering constructive dialogue and improved
mutual understanding between HE and business, these will help
to ensure that the HE experience (including course content and
delivery and the development of generic employment-related skills)
prepares students to participate effectively in the production
economy. The fund currently stands at some £20 million per
annum in England and Northern Ireland. If resources were available,
we believe that increasing this to around £100 million per
annum would enable institutions to achieve a better range and
speed of response to business and community needs.
47. There is scope for action to improve
HE-community interactions across the broad field of cultural activity
in ways which impact positively upon the student experience (see
HEFCE publication 99/25).
Higher Education Funding Council for England