Reading the HEA's tea leaves

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

The HEA's 2012/13 annual report, comments on the Academy's sustainability work under a number of headings.  For the record, here are the references to sustainability, sustainable development, and ESD.  There are quite a few:

Change (p. 36)

We offer a range of services designed to help institutions, faculties and/ or departments prepare for, implement and sustain transformational change that enhances the student learning experience.

Working in partnership with the Leadership Foundation, the Change Services team developed and successfully delivered the Leading transformation in learning and teaching modular programme. The programme, which takes place over three months, has been developed for leaders of large teaching modules going through significant transformation. The first cohort consisted of 12 individuals from six institutions and the programme’s first module in June 2013 received a 100% satisfaction rating, and 91% of participants intended to change their practice as a result. The second cohort will commence in November 2013.

During 2012-13, the Change Services team completed four change programmes and launched a further four, working with a total of 84 teams, comprising 477 individuals and representing 52 institutions across the UK. Feedback from these change programmes shows a high level of both satisfaction (an average of 89% of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience) and impact (78% intended to change their practice as a result of their participation). The four programmes launched in 2012-13 were:

• recognising teaching excellence;

• retention and success;

• Evidence-informed Quality Improvement Programme (EQUIP);

• Green Academy.

We also launched a pilot scheme on transforming assessment and delivered eight internal change programmes as consultancy, seven in the UK and one at York University, Toronto.

The Robert Gordon University took part in our Responding to the National Student Survey in the disciplines change programme last year. This year they reported on the impact of their project and the support they received from our Health and Social Care team. They said: “We got people assigned to work with us on the Change Programme. They were absolutely amazing in terms of being critical and supportive friends and being very reflective... They were constantly in touch with new ideas... they kept us focused on what we were trying to do. Those people we worked with were probably the most valuable part of the Change Programme.”

In December 2012 the Change Services team conducted a survey of past change programme participants to gather evidence of longitudinal impact. Of the 74 respondents, 89% found their experience of a change programme valuable or invaluable, 88% would recommend participating in an HEA change programme to a colleague and 74% would consider participating again in the future. Just one example of the 170 comments which express the impact a change programme had comes from Professor Patrick Bailey, Dean of Faculty of Natural Sciences, Keele University. He said: “We have seen a step change in our commitment and activities relating to sustainability in the curriculum.” 


National Policy making (p. 38)

"The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) team’s policy engagement work has led to substantial engagement with national and international policy development this year. This included: the HEFCE Sustainable Development Strategy; the Welsh Government Sustainable Development Bill; and the sector response to the UN conference on sustainable development outcome document, ‘Future We Want’."


During 2012-13 we responded regularly to sector consultations. These included evidence for the development of a national strategy for access and student success in England, the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Bill, proposals to establish a guild for the learning and skills sector in England, proposals to reform the national curriculum in England, guidelines for courses of initial teacher education in Scotland, new chapters of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, and changes to the institutional review in Wales. In total 15 consultation responses were submitted during 2012-13.


Partnerships (p. 42)

NUS: The education for sustainable development publications included the NUS/HEA Student attitudes to sustainable development report. The data from this report was the main driver behind HEFCE awarding NUS £5million for a Student Green Fund to be distributed to students’ unions across England for sustainability projects.


Corporate Socia; Responsibility (p. 45)

We have developed a new corporate and social responsibility (CSR) policy which builds on our previous work around sustainability, environmental impact and volunteering. The policy is underpinned by our values of creativity, empowerment, working for the public good and professionalism.  ...


Many of these were built on in the following year (13/14).  However, given the wind of change blowing through the HEA at the moment – more like a gale, I suspect – will the Academy be able to maintain all this?  I know no one who thinks so.  There's an ESD Advisory group on Friday, so maybe we shall learn more.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


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