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David Willetts MP launches new report into universities


Major new research by University of Wolverhampton experts into a ‘teaching revolution’ within modern universities and the impact on employability has been officially launched by David Willetts MP.

The Minister for Universities and Science launched Teaching That Matters, a new report by thinktank Million+, at a special event today (Friday, 10 February 2012).

Research for the report was carried out by academics at the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for Developmental and Applied Research in Education (CeDARE).

The new report features case studies from modern universities including Wolverhampton, and also highlights success stories such as Oscar and Bafta winner Peter Bebb.

The report argues that transforming teaching in higher education (HE) will be an important part of delivering employability, stimulating economic growth and tackling unemployment for the long-term.

It highlights how a teaching revolution is already under way in modern universities, delivering employability through a greater degree of professional development and skills training. Modern universities act as engines of social mobility and growth for the knowledge economy, it says, as more of its graduates move into higher socio-economic groups (according to Higher Education Statistics Agency data).

A shift in the role for lecturers, tutors and students themselves is needed as part of the change, the report says, with more collaboration with employers and local communities on real-life projects, more action-learning group work and greater responsibility for students to lead on sharing skills.

The research was carried out by Mark Hadfield, Jaswinder Dhillon, Michael Jopling and Russell Goffe from Wolverhampton.

Professor Mark Hadfield, Director of CeDARE, said: “Teaching That Matters seeks to provide answers to key questions about how high quality higher education teaching and learning is delivered and assessed in modern universities, how students are involved in teaching and learning and how innovation and best practice are fostered and promoted.

“It also outlines how modern universities work with employers and others to ensure that the graduates of tomorrow have the knowledge and life-long skills that will enable them to contribute to society and the wider communities in which they live.”

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of million+ argues that new UCAS application figures support claims in the report, showing how students are not just choosing courses on the basis of career-related subjects but how they are taught: the degree of skills training, real-world projects and active engagement with employers. She also claims that a teaching revolution is needed if HE is to continue to attract mature students and people generally into postgraduate study.

She said: “Modern universities are leading the way in making sure that the teaching and learning in our universities is delivering the knowledge, workplace and professional skills increasingly demanded by employers and by students themselves. Teaching that Matters sets out how student-centred teaching has a transformative impact on students by providing experiences that are interactive and inspirational and provides models of cutting-edge best practice which should be the basis for high quality teaching across universities.

“The report also makes clear that modern universities play a key role in helping people in work and those who do not want to study full-time to gain higher qualifications with 34 per cent of students studying part-time and with many more undertaking sandwich courses, work and professional placements or other flexible learning opportunities. Modern universities have also responded to the changing needs of students and employers through the development of new courses and curricula and collaboration with business, local communities and public service-users on real-life projects. As a result of a willingness to both innovate and expand, these universities have acted as engines of social mobility and growth for the knowledge economy, with more of their graduates moving into higher socio-economic groups.”

The report was launched at a special event at the University of Greenwich by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP.

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A copy of the report is available on request.

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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