Tim and colleagues, 1 Evidence that these courses work? A fair request. See THES November 9 2001 p.20 for a summary of research that suggests that such courses do work. Further published papers will add details to these findings. 2 The dangers of requiring successful completion of a course? Indeed such a requirement would be a change to conditions, and would need negotiation. Passing a relevant course might in fact prove a more robust measure for completing probation than do some current arrangements which lack clear and explicit criteria and requirements and rely considerably on the judgement of seniors. 3 In-service or pre-service training for university teachers? I agree that pre-service is politically and economically unacceptable. And I think I'm glad. Through an in-service course, new lecturers can relate theory and practice to each other in an intimate and continuing way which speeds the development of informed professional ability. That's been my experience, anyway. 3 Exploitation? If the course is working well, one of its outcomes will be teachers who can teach more efficiently as well as better, as has been necessary for most of my years in higher education. And if the course should be longer and thinner, say lasting two or three years at lower intensity; or should adopt varying patterns of short intensive sessions following by longer periods of teaching and reflection; or should take some other form; then this will be possible, if we collect and analyse the evidence and make the case. 4 Costing? Yes, the courses should be costed properly. As should all the other major activities of a University and its staff. (Some Universities are using some of their HEFCE HR Strategy and Learning and Teaching Strategy money to support these courses.) The new lecturing staff trained in these new ways will work their way through the system. In time it will come to seem odd that, once, University teachers were not necessarily trained and qualified to teach. In the meanwhile, I hope we can find ways to avoid upsetting the less new staff, as Tim suggests that our efforts sometimes do. Any suggestions? David _________ David Baume Director (Teaching Development) Centre for Higher Education Practice The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes MK7 6AA UK Phone +44 (0)1908 858436 Fax +44 (0)1908 858438 Web site http://cehep.open.ac.uk <http://cehep.open.ac.uk> -----Original Message----- From: Tim Reuter [SMTP:[log in to unmask]] Sent: 04 December 2001 14:25 To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: Making completion compulsory Perhaps I can introduce a note of sour realism into this discussion, not being a director of an HE centre but simply an ex-HoD who had until very recently to face the practical realities of all this on the ground. I wouldn't see it that way myself but I can think of plenty of colleagues who would treat what's been said so far as little more than the backslappings of successful empire-builders, and I'd certainly like to see a more evidence-based approach to the outcomes of these programmes: we're introducing them because we expect them to raise standards and professionalism, but let's check in due course that that has actually happened rather than assuming aprioristically that it will follow as the night the day that it must have done. More specifically, a basic HR and employment legislation point first of all: if you require successful completion this has two implications: a. you are changing people's terms and conditions of service. However annoying you may find the restriction, you may not do this unilaterally, and where an HE institution has recognised a union for purposes of collective bargaining what can be changed will be determined by the nature of the consultation mechanisms in force; b. as an institution, you are putting yourself in the position where you may be forced to set in motion a capability dismissal on the say-so of people who do not have to bear any responsibility for the outcome and normally have no HR training or qualifications. My memory and experience don't go back as far as the days when Professor Welch bullied Jim Dixon, but probationers have needed protection from their seniors far more recently than that, so we shouldn't want to wish safeguards away too readily, and this may lie behind institutions' choosing not to _require_ completion. All this is the product of the sector's having chosen -- uniquely for any profession I can think of -- to go down an in-house training route. Generally, employment-related professions, including teaching, expect a minimum level of qualification as a condition for employment, to be followed up by further training and development; we don't, and I think David Baume's distinction between a 'first' and a 'second' profession evades that point (and raises serious questions about the relationship between teaching and research). Of course, if we'd pushed for the PhD to become the entry-level qualification and to include a substantial teaching-related component that would have solved the problem -- but it would also have meant pushing the standard term for the PhD up from 3 to 4 funded years, i.e. a 33% cost increase, and no one was prepared to pay for that. Equally, no one wants to pay for in-house nationally accredited and interchangeable schemes other than through funding the providers, which means that at a typical institution with a serious in-house scheme everyone not doing the scheme finds that their work load goes up by between 1 and 3%, at a time of still-declining unit of resource. Even probationers doing the scheme get exploited; locally, we had established a general convention that probationers initially got plenty of time and a light load to play themselves in (and often to complete their PhD/turn it into a book) -- only to find ourselves being told that we had to ensure that probationers were doing 'enough' teaching in their first year to satisfy the needs of the local certificate course. Last not least: the typically uncosted manner of these schemes' introduction has done nothing, in my experience, to make not-so-new staff embrace the need for further development or to foster a developmental culture: they can very easily and by no means wholly unreasonably come to see it all as yet another form of taxation on their efforts, and if you are trying at middle management level to change attitudes it does not make it any easier to be forced to work in this kind of context. Tim Reuter Department of History University of Southampton PS I believe here the question of making both taking the course and its successful completion a requirement is still being negotiated, though I'm out of the loop now and hence uncertain of this.