Rewarding And Developing StaffBy the time you are reading this, the consultation period will be over. Five days before Christmas HEFCE published “Rewarding and developing staff in higher education” (00/56) with a deadline of 12th February. It contains plans for the spending of £330m over the next three academic years, money described as additional resources from the government’s Year 2000 Spending Review.

The proposed method of spending is one with which educational developers are becoming familiar, particularly since it was used to allocate institutional Learning and Teaching Strategy funds. By June 1st, institutions will have submitted plans (using the 00/56 criteria), the indicative allocations will be converted into next year’s actual, and by the next summer managers will be reporting in their operating statements that they have reached their targets. Although we are asked if such an approach is effective, there is hardly enough time to devise another.

Fearing that it might have lost our interest over Christmas, the Times Higher went for performance-related pay as its lead and thus forced the traditional range of quotes in response. More Christmas chestnuts, really. This, and targeting the circular to those responsible for human resources management, might mean that educational developers have not yet given it much attention.
The mainstream story, however, is how to handle the 1999 Bett Report into pay and conditions. Compared to the total bill needed to implement Bett, the money in 00/56 is marginal. But the directions and intentions are aligned. And some of the detail is central to educational change and improvement.

Bett issued some major challenges to human resources departments. We don’t know for sure who is employed in HE, and in what categories. Women in HE are still getting a raw deal. Casual, part-time and fixed contract staff have rights – institutions must find better ways to stay flexible. Overall, managers don’t seem to manage well and probably don’t know how to. Academics need protection from overloading. Promotion criteria need improving, especially for teachers – Bett grasped at the ILT as a possible reward mechanism, even using entitlement to membership as a way of describing an academic (teacher, researcher or one whose primary function is to contribute directly to student learning). In a buoyant “knowledge economy” young lecturers and experienced professors are in great demand and HE is often not the most attractive choice. And that’s before we get onto the two spines, unrewarded productivity, inappropriate patterns of staffing, job evaluation and slippage on the differentials.

If we can overcome the political hazards, there is much in “Rewarding and developing staff” which matters to educational developers. SEDA’s Professional Development Framework scheme, for example, is potentially a major contribution. There is a welcome emphasis on staff development and training objectives, not only for future changes such as Computing and Information Technology, but also to meet current needs (Access? Diversity? The employed student? Mass modules? No time to teach?). And you can find further support for the learning and teaching strategy for each institution.

But the notion with perhaps the most potential for the educational development community is the explicit encouragement for management development. The work of Paul Ramsden, Michael Prosser, Keith Trigwell and Elaine Martin (in papers to the Improving Student Learning conferences and in Ramsden’s “Learning to Lead”, 1998) is linking the quality of student learning (outcomes and results as well as feedback and satisfaction) with styles of leadership and management. Bett was suggesting that the current approaches have not yet matched the scale of the task – might it not be worthwhile to try to use at least some of 00/56 to develop particular educational perspectives on this area of work?

James Wisdom , Co-ordinator, Publications


This issue contains articles on:

Programme Specifications – What’s The Outcome? (An educational developer’s view of the implications of the QAA’s Guidelines) 
James Wisdom, Higher Education Consultant

Widening Participation – what causes students to succeed or fail? 
Julie Hall, Lecturer, South Thames College, Steve May, Lecturer, South Thames College, and John Shaw, Principal Lecturer in Teaching and Learning, London Guildhall University

Improving Provision for Disabled Students 
Barbara Lloyd-Smith, Director of the National Disability Team, Coventry University

Widening Participation – so what, why and how? 
Geoff Layer, Director of Action on Access, University of Bradford

Encouraging and Facilitating the Use of Electronic Information Systems (EIS) 
Professor Jennifer Rowley, Edge Hill College of Higher Education, Dr Linda Banwell, Sue Childs and Dr Patricia Gannon-Leary, University of Northumbria, Ray Lonsdale, Christine Urquhart and Chris Armstrong, University of Aberystwyth

Key Skills Online – a Key Skills resource for HE 
Sue Drew, Learning and Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University

A Ramble Around Subject Centre Websites – implications for educational developers 
Barry Jackson, Director for Learning Development, Middlesex University, Allan Davies, Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art & Design, the London Institute, Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art

Effective Collaboration Between a Staff Development Unit and a Subject Network (the Mathwise User Group) 
Rachel Hudson FSEDA, Academic Development Co-ordinator, University of Bath

SEDA’s Response to the RAE Consultation (Report 00/37) 
Prepared by Ranald Macdonald FSEDA, SEDA Co-Chair, in consultation with members