The HE Bite: 13th October – The policy behind the metrics

The HE Bite: 13th October – The policy behind the metrics

An overview of the new Knowledge Exchange Framework and Teaching Excellence Framework 3.0. 

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“People in a position to understand data are not always in a position to influence policy,” – Smita Jamdar.

It has been a particularly defensive summer for Higher Education, and Smita Jamdar, Head of Education at Shakespeare Martineau, drove home the importance of remembering civic duty at the Universities UK Conference this Tuesday. When the Higher Education and Research Bill was passed in April, the sector could only speculate on the impact. The conference, which covered all aspects of the new bill, lined up speakers to discuss the new regulatory powers of the Office for Students, voluntary TEF subject metrics, and the birth of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation).

A powerful theme throughout the day was a focus on metrics that enable research collaborations to empower regional communities. Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor from the University of Lincoln, spoke about “moving beyond areas where we know there are winners,” and recognising that “global issues take place at a local level.” The continued policy of inclusive growth would involve local communities. References to Brexit were infrequent, and references to industrial strategy were aplenty.

Jo Johnson also had UKRI on his mind. During his speech at HEFCE yesterday, Johnson references the recent HEBCI survey. The survey indicated that wider economic engagement is growing more slowly than the economy and that this growth was unevenly distributed around the country. Before moving on to the international engagement portion of his speech (where he referenced the recent research deal with the United States and continued commitment to European research partnerships) Johnson noted that the University of Central Lancashire and Reading University were both examples of economic engagement with local industries.

The KEF, if it is rolled out, would stand by the existing Teaching Excellence Framework and the Research Excellence Framework as another metric to measure university success.  Although Johnson’s comments on a European partnership generated the most attention, we are looking out for yet another data-driven framework to measure “excellence” underpinned by a policy that emphasises local collaboration.

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