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The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.
Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.
Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.
The University of Worcester has become one of a handful of education organisations to gain Centre of Excellence status from the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs.
The University, which offers a number of Entrepreneurship degrees through its Business School, now has the flagship accreditation which marks out organisations that promote and deliver enterprise skills development.
The announcement comes ahead of the third annual Worcestershire Festival of Business, taking place on Friday, September 16, which celebrates enterprise within the County. The University is heavily involved in the Festival, including arranging for the Start-up Britain Bus, which tours the UK to give free advice to budding entrepreneurs, to be part of the day.
The IOEE have a network of more than 200 centres and academies delivering enterprise and entrepreneurial programmes, however, currently only five educational establishments, including the University of Worcester, have achieved Centre of Excellence status.
Dr David Bozward, the University’s Strategic Lead in Entrepreneurship, said: “Entrepreneurship is part of the core strategy for the University of Worcester and, as such, we are developing a world class environment for students, staff and local entrepreneurs.
“This IOEE Centre of Excellence is recognition that we have demonstrated our commitment to enterprise and also working with our local partners."
Centres of Excellence recognise the importance of creating and sustaining an enterprising and entrepreneurial culture and support continuous enterprise development, improvement and growth.
To gain accreditation the University had to demonstrate it could successfully meet 12 criteria.
These included anticipating and understanding the needs of its students, delivering what businesses and learners want, and proving that it was a learning organisation that has an enterprise culture.
Good practice highlighted by the IOEE included the University’s flexibility of staff and resource managers, which allowed them to do projects, such as one funded by the British Council which created learning material using Worcestershire and Chinese businesses.
It was also impressed by its innovative practice, such as scale-up support, engagement with external partners such as the Local Enterprise Partnership or growth hubs, links to external entrepreneurs and its learning support systems.
As a Centre of Excellence, the University of Worcester is now able to deliver IOEE programmes and qualifications and may receive recognition for its own programmes.
University staff, students and learners can also access IOEE membership.
IOEE’s Chief Executive, Sarah Trouten, is looking forward to working very closely with the Business School.
“The team exhibited the qualities that nurture enterprise and entrepreneurial thinking and this has fed directly into both curriculum and extra-curricular activities,” she said.
“There is an enterprising culture and clear examples of innovative practices with good engagement with external partners including LEP’s, growth hubs and local businesses.
“The team at Worcester are innovative and creative and given the autonomy to achieve great things.”
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