Quality after the cuts? Higher education practitioners’ accounts of systemic challenges to teaching quality in times of ‘austerity’

This source preferred by Anna Feigenbaum

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Authors: Feigenbaum, A. and Iqani, M.

Journal: Journal of Further and Higher Education

Volume: 39

Issue: 1

Pages: 46-66

eISSN: 1469-9486

ISSN: 0309-877X

DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2013.778961

© 2013, © 2013 UCU. What are the ramifications of current changes in the higher education landscape in the UK for the ways in which teaching staff perceive their teaching practices? What impact are funding cuts, increases in student fees and the concomitant increased workloads having on faculty morale? How might this influence ‘quality cultures’ in teaching in media, communications, cultural studies and related disciplines, and higher education more broadly? To investigate issues around teaching quality enhancement and teaching quality assurance in the changing higher education environment in the UK, we designed an innovative ‘Teaching Exchange’ (TE) workshop, which ran during 2010 and 2011 in Media and Communications departments at five diverse higher education institutions around England. Drawn from discussions with over 40 faculty members, this paper provides an account of how our TE workshop participants viewed the current structural constraints on teaching quality in regard to: (1) changing teaching loads, (2) the marketisation of degree programmes and (3) the internationalisation of student bodies without adequate support structures. In reporting on these challenges to quality in teaching, this paper contributes to the generation of alternatives to the existing top-down bureaucratisation of teaching quality control.

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