University Centre Sparsholt in Hampshire has been awarded a coveted Silver award for excellence in teaching and learning by Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) today. The University Centre which offers degree programmes from Foundation level up to Master’s was recognised for the excellent outcomes its students achieve and the high proportions who move into employment or further study. The award also acknowledged very high levels of student satisfaction with teaching, academic support, and assessment and feedback.
This is the first year for these awards which are administered by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and have been introduced by the government to recognise high quality teaching and to ensure prospective students can make informed decisions about their university choices.
Commenting on the achievement of Silver which is expected to rank Sparsholt alongside many of the top universities in the UK, Principal Tim Jackson said: “Although applying for TEF was voluntary for this first year, we were confident we would score highly against the criteria. The TEF measures aspects of academic and university life that are important to students and their parents. It matters how satisfied students are with their courses, the tutors, the support they receive and their employment prospects. We are therefore incredibly proud to receive a Silver award on these key areas of the students’ experience here at Sparsholt. The Teaching Excellence Framework is also a powerful tool for prospective students exploring their university options.”
The TEF panel acknowledged that course design and assessment practices at Sparsholt stretch and challenge students and are informed by working closely with industrial partners in course development. They also noted how the inclusion of work experience on many programmes allows students to develop knowledge, skills and attributes that are valued by employers. The personalised approach at Sparsholt was praised with individual tutorials and support at the heart of the student experience, and in particular the support provided for mature students. The panel observed “an institutional culture at Sparsholt that facilitates excellent teaching through high quality support for new tutors, systematic observation of teaching and a comprehensive professional development programme.”
Tim Jackson continued: “We are delighted with all the feedback from the TEF panel particularly their comment about our approach to course design and tutorial support. The panel praised our approach to developing physical and digital resources, which we consider the hallmarks of Sparsholt. These first class resources aid and enhance students’ learning and develop study and research skills essential for undergraduate and postgraduate study.”
Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector.
“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.”