Teaching should be important in promotions, say majority of HE staff

  • Date: 19-02-2009

Major new research published today by the Higher Education Academy shows that academic staff feel that teaching in higher education is not properly rewarded.

Over 90% of academic staff surveyed by the Higher Education Academy think that teaching should be important in promotions, but only a minority of staff think that it actually is.

This interim report is the first of two from a collaborative project by the Higher Education Academy and GENIE (a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Genetics) at the University of Leicester, looking at teaching in higher education. This first report focuses on academic staff perceptions of and experiences about the reward and recognition of teaching. The final report, to be published later in the year, will include the results of a study into higher education institutions' policies for recognising teaching, and how these policies are being implemented.

Key findings from the survey of staff conducted for the research include:

  • Over 90% of academic staff think that teaching should be important in promotions
  • Most academics feel that the status of teaching is low in comparison with research. They also say that research is important, and that it is by and large given appropriate status and suitable emphasis in appointments and promotions
  • Academics in more research-focused universities are less likely to be satisfied with the importance their institution attaches to teaching in promotion decisions
  • There are differences in perceptions of the importance of teaching in promotions by type of appointment 
  • the more junior the staff member the more likely they are to say that it is not important in promotions. Staff who are in senior posts are less likely to think that there is a sizeable difference between ideal and actual in the importance of teaching for promotion
  • Training and support are valued as ways of raising the status of teaching.

Professor Paul Ramsden, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy comments:

"High quality teaching makes an enormous difference to students. This research is an important part of the Academy's work to raise the status of teaching. From these findings we can see that teaching in UK higher education is still perceived by academics to be valued and rewarded too little, both in formal personnel processes and in the dominant culture of institutions".


Read the Reward and recognition of teaching in higher education report