Exploring Teaching in HE Providers: THE publishes its Teaching Survey 2017




Times Higher Education has released the findings from its ‘first major survey of university staff attitudes towards teaching’, which reports on 2016 research surveying over one thousand HE staff from various regions. Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 14.05.02 Eighty-four percent of those polled are from UK-based institutions, with the remainder based in Australia (5%), the EU (4%), US (3%), Asia (1%), Canada (1%), and Other (2%).

The views are also predominantly from academics (90%), with a decent representation of gender.

Additionally, Arts and Humanities as well as the Social Sciences together make up 41% of the respondents, followed by Business and Law represented at 14%.

The questions that were asked fall into six categories:


  1. My teaching and me
  2. Teaching at my Institution
  3. Students
  4. Standards
  5. Technology
  6. National Student Survey and Teaching Excellence Framework

The THE article provides an in-depth and thorough presentation of the findings, backed by verbal commentary and discussion from academics.

The survey comes at an important time as the Teaching Excellence Framework looks to improve teaching from HE providers, following in the footsteps of the Research Excellence Framework.

One of the factors the poll draws attention to is the relationship between teaching and research in institutions, and whether HE employers value one (i.e. research) over the other (i.e. teaching).

55 per cent of academics and 63 per cent of administrators agree that research is valued more highly than teaching by their institution, while 30 per cent of academics and 28 per cent of administrators disagree.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 14.54.32

However, this does not stop the majority of participants opposing the forthcoming Teaching Excellence Framework, with a significant majority believing that it will neither accurately assess nor improve teaching quality.  The article quotes an academic as suggesting the TEF will “only increase the bureaucratic burden and will do nothing to engender a culture of quality when it comes to teaching”. Its results will “be used in league tables that will bear little relationship to the reality of the student experience”.

While reforms by nature tend to be controversial, it is important to recognise that should HE providers actually be focusing predominantly on research, there is a need to urgently address how to bring teaching excellence back to the classrooms.


Leave a Reply

Your details
  • (Your email address will not be published in your comment)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>