Business professors are to become the first academics in the UK to receive a professional development qualification for teaching as part of a drive to improve standards in the sector.
The Chartered Association of Business Schools has developed a new scheme for academics who teach business and management degrees to develop their classroom skills beyond basic postgraduate education qualifications.
“A lot of the academics in business schools have come from the business world and there is an expectation among them that they need to keep their skills relevant,” said Anne Kiem, CABS chief executive.
Unlike other professions, such as marketing or accountancy, university teachers have not been required to have continuing professional development.
Concern over the quality of teaching at higher education institutions was behind the introduction in 2017 of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which gives ratings to universities and colleges on a variety of indicators.
“For students, teaching is the biggest issue,” said Andrew Crisp, owner of CarringtonCrisp, an education marketing business. “If a university can say that their staff have this additional qualification to show the quality of the teaching in their classrooms, then it has to be good for them.
Business and management are the most popular degree subjects at UK universities, and are taken by one in seven undergraduates and one in five masters students. There are 15,860 business professors in UK universities, 9.8 per cent of all academic staff.
Although the CABS programme will only be available for business subjects, the association hopes it will become the basis for similar qualifications in other disciplines.
To qualify for the scheme, academics must have completed a postgraduate certificate in teaching, or be a Higher Education Academy Fellow, or have taught for at least five years in a higher education institution. They must also be able to identify and outline their own development needs at the beginning of the programme and then commit to 40 hours of career development over 12 months.
Business schools have taken a lead because they have traditionally had a stronger connection with corporate life, said Ms Kiem, who credited the TEF ratings system for pushing universities to improve teaching standards.
“There was in the past perhaps too much emphasis placed on the research side and not enough on the teaching side,” said Ms Kiem. “TEF has helped us to get backing for this programme.”
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