Craig Mahoney gets a letter

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

The letter in question is to the HEA from Hefce CEO, Sir Alan Langlands, and concerns funding arrangements for the HEA for 2013 / 14.  It's 11 pages long.  You can read it here.

Sustainability / ESD / sustainable development get 3 mentions.  One is a quotidian reference to the HEA's becoming a sustainable organisation.  This turns out to be code for its needing to be much less reliant on money from the funding councils (ie, the hard-pressed tax-payer).

The second mention is under the heading of Institutional Strategy and Change (paras #21 to #22) it says this:

21. We encourage you to continue to focus your activities around a number of strategic themes to progress aspects of student learning and quality enhancement that are of importance to the sector.  As part of this approach, the Academy must maintain its reputation as a focus of expertise in the pedagogy of specific disciplines and recognising [sic] the importance of engaging students as partners in enhancing teaching and learning.  Specific strategic themes we encourage the Academy to support are listed below.   ...

d. The Academy has a particular role in working in partnership with institutions and other sector bodies to disseminate good practice that will assist UK graduates to maximise their potential and impact on leaving higher education.  We encourage you to continue your efforts, in particular regarding ...

iii  supporting institutions in meeting the education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship agenda and working with professional and sector bodies and staff in subject communities to support ESD;

The third, and a more substantial reference, is under the heading of General Objectives and Priorities (paras #25 to #37), we find, …

37. Sustainable Development.

We are pleased that the Academy recognises Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and request the Academy to continue to recognise ESD as a cross-cutting priority and to proactively encourage and support it.

  • We note the success of the Green Academy and ask that more institutions are supported through a similar process.
  • We look to the Academy to continue with the implementation of a sustainability policy for its own operations and to report regularly and publicly on process.  We invite the Academy to consider participation in the NUS Green Impact Scheme which would have the benefit of strengthening links with the NUS.

The strong message in all this is that Hefce is supporting HEA so that it can support institutions (and professional / sector bodies), so that they can support ESD.

Whilst I suppose we should be grateful for all this support, it seems a pity that there is no direct mention of students or their learning in section #21.d.iii.  I'd have much preferred something much more explicit here, like this:

Hefce wants HEA to work with professional and sector bodies, and staff in subject communities, so that students can learn about sustainability.

... as this puts staff and students and their (sustainability) learning where it needs to be: at the heart of things.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


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