Department for Business names first chair of universities' Teaching Excellence Framework

 Vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University to lead body that will grade higher education institutions on the quality of their teaching

By Josh May

03 Aug 2016

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said the new framework would "place teaching quality on a par with research". Credit: PA

The government has announced that Chris Husbands, the vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, will be the first chair of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). 

The TEF will grade higher education institutions on the quality of their teaching, with future rises in the tuition fee cap due to be tied to their performance.

Husbands will lead the assessment panel that will rate the universities as either "outstanding", "excellent", or "meets expectations".

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He said: “UK higher education has a global reputation for excellence, and I'm looking forward to working as part of the panel to help shape and guide the assessment process at this important time in the evolution of higher education.”

His appointment will last for two years and he has already started his role, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced.

Universities minister Jo Johnson added: “By taking into account important measures such as student satisfaction and graduate employment rates, the Teaching Excellence Framework will give students clear information about where they can achieve the best outcomes and for the first time, place teaching quality on a par with research.  

“Professor Husbands has senior leadership experience from a varied range of higher education providers, in addition to direct knowledge of teaching in other sectors and a distinguished research background. 

“In his new role he will help to build on the existing high standards we expect of providers, stretching the best and rightly encouraging those with variable quality to improve.”

Responsibility for universities was handed over to the Department for Education as part of Theresa May’s first reshuffle, with Johnson’s post now split between the two departments.

He announced in July that the cap on tuition fees would rise beyond £9,000 to £9,250 per year for the first time for courses beginning in 2017/18.

That increase applied to all universities, but the government intends from 2019 to introduce a tiered system, meaning that those institutions which do not register on the TEF have their fee cap frozen in cash terms, those which "meet expectations" can increase fees by half the rate of inflation, and those rated "excellent" or "outstanding" can increase them in line with the full RPIX measure of inflation. 

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