All 21 entries tagged Recognition

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May 22, 2011

After the History Subject Centre

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The History Subject Centre will officially close on 31st October, although effectively most activities will cease by the end of July. Sarah Richardson has written a briefing report, After the History Subject Centre, which outlines the support that will be available for HE History once the subject centre has closed. There are also details of activities and services the History community have found most valuable and recommendations on how these may be continued in the future.

Please join in the conversation!

March 07, 2011

High Achieving Graduates of History

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The work of the government and our subject community is increasingly concentrating on enabling students to fulfil their potential during and after their studies.  The aim of the projects within 'History Graduates with Impact'is to highlight and evidence the 'value' of studying history and some of the developments in the UK.

As part of the research into 'Graduates with Impact', the Subject Centre (along with the English and Philosophical and Religious Studies Subject Centres) conducted a search of history (and wider humanities) alumni.  The result is a database of alumni who have progressed into positions of note and interest.  Findings from the database will be used in David Nicholl's forthcoming update to his 2005 work on 'The Employment of History Graduates', but we have also made the fill datasets available to the wider community on our website ... to encourage discussion with prospective students.

A publication of case studies, surveys and reports on 'History Graduates with Impact' will be available in July, in the meantime, please visit the project website for more details:

January 17, 2011

Change Academy 2011: Call for proposals

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It is clear that higher education is facing a challenging future, with reduced public funding, an increased focus on enhancing the student learning experience and an even greater emphasis on organisational effectiveness. Change Academy is your opportunity to approach these challenges in an imaginative and creative way. Organised in partnership between the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Change Academy is a year-long process that includes specific development opportunities for nominated team leaders, an ongoing support network and a four-day residential. It provides a creative environment in which the whole team can focus on planning and developing strategies for lasting change.

The deadline for proposals for the 2011 Change Academy is Thursday 3 March 2011. To find out more, please contact the Change Academy team (01904 717500 or or visit our website, which includes video commentaries from 2010 participants. If you would like to discuss potential change project ideas with one of the programme directors, please contact Steve Outram (07976 132804) or Lesly Huxley (07977 457949).

November 15, 2010

The End of the Subject Centre Network

The Board of the Higher Education Academy met on 10th November to decide on the organisation's future structure and focus. The HEA's future work will concentrate on activity that supports institutions and their staff in improving teaching in higher education. The Board has agreed a range of services which will be built around three aspects of the student learning experience: teacher excellence, developing academic practice and institutional strategy. The HEA Board has stated that the Academy will continue to support academics in their disciplines. However, they are disbanding the Subject Centre network and, in the future, disciplinary work will be provided by a series of associates on fixed term contracts. These associates will generally be expected to support more than one disicpline. The changes are expected to be implemented over the academic year 2011-12 and there will be some (reduced) funding for the History Subject Centre to aid in the transition.

This announcement which comes only days after the publication of the Browne report and the government's Comprehensive Spending Review is a further setback for History in Higher Education (as well as in other sectors). In the short time that the History Subject Centre has been based at Warwick we have worked with some inspirational students and academics committed to enhancing History teaching and learning at the front line. It is difficult (if not impossible) to see how such communities of practice could be sustained within the proposed structure. Resources such as our highly-regarded website will be subsumed into a generic conglomerate.  

We are actively investigating possibilities of sustaining the History Subject Centre in a different guise outwith the Academy structure, not least since subject centres are widely regarded as the most valuable element within the HEA portfolio. We would be interested to hear your views and ideas, as well as your reactions to the more general HEA proposals. Our annual conference in April will offer an opportunity to discuss this along with the other challenges currently facing our discipline. If you value the work of the Subject Centre team please let us know. We are very grateful for your support.

The Future of the Higher Education Academy – Statement from Chief Excecutive

A statement from the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy has set out the future organisation and structure:

The HEA's future work will concentrate on activity that supports institutions and their staff in improving teaching in higher education. The Board has agreed a range of services which will be built around three aspects of the student learning experience - teacher excellence, developing academic practice, and institutional strategy.

As a core part of its role, the HEA remains committed to supporting academics in their disciplines.  Key services such as the provision of subject-level support to new teachers and graduate teaching assistants, and consultancy support at departmental level will be provided and delivered by subject specialists and a network of academic associates. Employment arrangements for both core specialist staff and associates will be determined flexibly, with many based in or linked to HEIs. The HEA will provide on-line materials, events and subject-specific resources to academics in different discipline areas. It will continue to work with the Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies and subject associations.

The HEA will however deliver its work under a new arrangement. The Academy is restructuring to increase the proportion of overall HEA resource that is spent directly on work with institutions and lecturers and build in greater flexibility. It is simplifying its management structures to operate as a single organisation. As part of these changes, from 2012 we will no longer be grant funding universities to support the network of 24 Subject Centres.

I am confident that the HEA will continue to provide a valuable resource to discipline communities under its new arrangements.

October 12, 2010

The implications of the Browne review

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News coverage of the Browne report published today focuses on the implications for students and fee levels. But the report also contains important suggestions on aspects of teaching quality:

Browne's proposals include:

  • Four existing higher education bodies (Higher Education Funding Council for England, Quality Assurance Agency, Office for Fair Access, and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator) would be abolished and replaced by a single Higher Education Council. Itis not clear if the current auditing system undertaken by the QAA will continue in the same format. The new Council will enforce baseline standards of quality and more information will be given to students.
  • The new body would be responsible for investing in priority courses, setting and enforcing quality levels, improving access and attainment for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, ensuring students benefit from increased competition in the sector, and resolving disputes between students and institutions
  • All new academics with teaching responsibilities should undertake a teaching qualification accredited by the Higher Education Academy. All those (including postgraduates) with responsibility for teaching should be given the option to attain a teaching qualification.
  • An Access and Success fund should be set up to help universities recruit and retain students from disadvantaged backgrounds and universities charging more than £7,000 a year would be subject to increased scrutiny over student access
  • Public funding should be focused on priority areas. In the Arts and Humanities this would mean 'strategically important language courses'. Thus it is possible that History would not be publicly funded.

August 18, 2010

National Student Satisfaction with History

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The National Student Satisfaction survey data for 2010 has been released by HEFCE today. The History Subject Centre has produced a detailed report on the 2009 data.

Our preliminary analysis of the 2010 information demonstrates that satisfaction with HE History teaching continues at a high level with an improvement from 81% to 89% for the question: 'Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course'. The weakest area for History remains assessment and feedback but here there have been some marginal improvements in the scores for the sector.

A press release on the Higher Education Academy's work on NSS may be found here:

NSS Questions

History (UK) 2009

History (UK) 2010

Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course



Staff are good at explaining things.



Staff have made the subject interesting.



Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching.



The course is intellectually stimulating.



The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance.



Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair.



Feedback on my work has been prompt.



I have received detailed comments on my work.



Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand.



I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies.



I have been able to contact staff when I needed to.



Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices.



The timetable works efficiently as far as my activities are concerned.



Any changes in the course or teaching have been communicated effectively.



The course is well organised and is running smoothly.



The library resources and services are good enough for my needs.



I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to.



I have been able to access specialised equipment, facilities or room when I needed to.



The course has helped me present myself with confidence.



My communication skills have improved.



As a result of the course, I feel confident in tackling unfamiliar problems.



July 28, 2010

Historians elected Fellows of the British Academy

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Congratulations to the following historians elected fellows of the British Academy:

Professor of Mediterranean History, University of Cambridge

Life Fellow, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

Professor of Modern European History, University of Cambridge

Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Nottingham

Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford

Professor of Architectural History; Fellow, St John’s College, University of Cambridge

Professor of Modern History, University of Glasgow

Professor of the History of Islamic Science, Senior Research Consultant, The Bodleian Library; Archivist (Fellow Archivist), St Cross College, University of Oxford

Professor of Medieval History, University of East Anglia

Master of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

July 11, 2010

The teaching of History is discussed in the House of Lords

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The role of University academics was raised in questions in the Lords on 8th July. The question initially focused on the proposed appointments of Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts to advise on the school History curriculum but the debate opened up wider questions of the teaching of History; the type of History that should be taught; and the role of academic historians in advising government.

Education: History


11.25 am

Asked By Lord Clinton-Davis

    To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the roles of Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts with regard to the history curriculum for schools in England.

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government intend to restore the national curriculum to its original purpose: a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines. We will announce details of our plans in due course. No individual has been asked to play a specific role in the review. However, we plan to consult a wide range of interested parties to ensure that our curriculum is in line with those of the highest performing jurisdictions in the world.

    Lord Clinton-Davis: Is the Minister aware that both the individuals have been mentioned in the press as having been consulted by the Government? Are not

    8 July 2010 : Column 339

    these appointments a blatant attempt to revive imperialist concepts? Why is it thought by the Government that right-wingers such as Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts-however articulate they may be-with their outdated views of empire, can make a useful contribution to the modern history syllabus?

    Lord Hill of Oareford: My Lords, as I said, I am not at all certain that they have been asked to take part in the review. It may well be that they have not. I cannot say any more than that at this stage.

    Baroness Walmsley: My Lords, given the global nature of our economy and the multicultural nature of our society, would it not be appropriate to allow schools the freedom to use their discretion, if they so wish, to teach children not just about the history of the UK but some of the history of our major trading partners and of the mother countries of many of their pupils, as understanding our customers and our roots is very important for children?

    Lord Hill of Oareford: I agree with my noble friend. It seems to me that, in teaching history, one certainly wants to give our children a sense of Britain's history and the broad sweep and chronological development of our history over time. However, I agree with her very much that we also want our children to have a sense of the wider world, particularly as Britain changes and develops. It is important that that balance is struck.

    Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I very much applaud the Minister's caution in response to this Question, but does he recognise the importance of history in the curriculum? Does he particularly recognise the real dangers of appearing to be ideologically driven with regard to the teaching of history? We have had appalling examples of that in the past. I am sure he will take care to ensure that we do not repeat any such examples.

    Lord Hill of Oareford: My Lords, as I have admitted before in the House, I am a sort of historian myself, so I accept the point the noble Lord makes about ideology. It is, of course, always difficult to draw the line between history and politics. Things that I still think of as being current affairs my children are now learning as history. Therefore, I recognise that point. However, in trying to get that balance right, it is important that we try to move away from a sort of gobbet-sized approach to history. For instance, 17th century English history, which is very rarely taught, has many parallels with what is going on in Britain today in terms of the extent of change. If one could get that development, one would do a better job.

    Lord Bew: My Lords, is the Minister aware that when Niall Ferguson was asked on the "Analysis" programme about two weeks ago whether he would accept the role of history tsar and whether he was being brought into the Government to write a national history curriculum, he replied, "Certainly not, because

    8 July 2010 : Column 340

    I think a national history curriculum is an abomination"? Furthermore, all Governments have their favourite historians. In the lifetime of the previous Government, Professor Linda Colley's work was often on the Downing Street website. The great Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm became a Companion of Honour. This Government may have historians that they admire as well. This is all to the good as long as, in the case of all these distinguished historians, their work is of sufficient quality to inspire our young people in sixth forms and universities, whatever the ideological background that might be perceived to exist.

    Lord Hill of Oareford: I was not aware of those remarks by Professor Ferguson, but I agree with the noble Lord that if the Government were to be lucky enough that academics of his distinction, or of the distinction of other historians with a different perspective, were able to help to shape thinking, that is something that one ought to welcome.

    Lord Hughes of Woodside: My Lords, how can it be that the Minister does not know whether these two gentlemen have been consulted or not? Who is running his department? How long has this Question been on the Order Paper? Has he made no inquiries? It is ridiculous for a Minister to say that he does not know whether people have been consulted.

    Lord Hill of Oareford: My Lords, the Secretary of State for Education runs the department. I did not say that I did not know: I said that so far as I was aware they have not been invited to take part in a review. That was what I said in my first Answer-and in my second, too.

    The Earl of Listowel: My Lords, does the Minister agree that we should continue to seek out with vigour the best historians from our universities, with their deep knowledge of their specialist subject, encourage them to go and teach in secondary schools and give them plenty of leeway to teach in a way that they see will best engage their pupils?

    Lord Hill of Oareford: I agree with that point. Getting the best people to teach history at all levels in schools is an extremely important task.

    Lord Addington: My Lords, will the Minister accept that fashion in academic pursuits is very prevalent, and that we should not panic too much when a new fashion comes in and we do not like the hemline?

    Lord Hill of Oareford: I agree with my noble friend. I would not describe myself as remotely fashionable in any respect. So far as concerns history, there are core elements, for example to do with chronology and the sequence of events, that one can divorce from fashion, but I agree that we should resist the blandishments of changing hemlines.

    May 27, 2010

    Student essay prize winners

    We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2010 Student Essay Competition:

    First Prize: William Egan (History), University of Nottingham

    Joint Second Prize: Stephanie Pickerill (English and History), Queen Mary, University of London and Chris Zacharia (History and Politics), University of Warwick

    The topic this year was advice for a new first-year History student. The standard was excellent and we received a record number of entries.

    Congratulations to William, Stephanie and Chris.




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