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Newman University has secured a Silver rating in the first Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The TEF has been introduced by the Government to monitor and assess the quality of teaching in English universities. The aim is to ensure that all students receive an excellent teaching experience that prepares them for the world of work, while building a culture where teaching in higher education enjoys equal status with research. It is also designed to provide students with information they need to judge teaching quality as part of their decision-making process when applying to universities.
Newman’s Silver TEF rating is valid for three years and has been awarded on the basis of performance over the last three years.
Professor J. Scott Davidson, Vice-Chancellor at Newman University said:
"We’re delighted that the quality of teaching at Newman University has been recognised by our Silver TEF award. This means that HEFCE considers the quality of teaching at Newman to be of a high quality, significantly and consistently exceeding the baseline quality threshold.
"Inspired by our patron, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, we are committed to ensuring every student at Newman University is a valued member of a vibrant academic community, taught by researchers and scholars who are active in their field.
"The TEF award has recognised the key role that our high-quality teaching plays in encouraging students to become original thinkers and resilient problem solvers who are ready for the challenges of the professional world.
"We invest heavily in our teaching, nearly 70 per cent of our academic teaching staff hold teaching qualifications, students are taught in small groups and have opportunities to work with active researchers. We’re pleased that this investment is reaping rewards in both our students’ experiences and also the TEF findings
"The TEF Panel‘s judgement singled out for particular praise the institutional culture of recognising and rewarding excellent teaching and the fact that our courses provide high levels of stretch for all our students, alongside effective support for their development, progression and attainment.
"The judgement also highlights that our students acquire knowledge, skills and attributes that are valued by employers through work placements, volunteering support, enterprise opportunities and the embedding of career skills into the curriculum".
The TEF assesses the quality of teaching at undergraduate level across England. It draws on data taken from the National Student Survey, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, as well as the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. The current framework assesses teaching quality across a university as a whole and does not provide data on a subject-by-subject basis. The TEF Panel considered the outcomes for students, including their progression to highly skilled employment and further study. It also considered course design and assessment, teaching intensity (that is, the amount of contact time and teaching group sizes), the way the University promotes engagement of students in learning and the quality of physical and digital resources available to students.
Professor Davidson continued: "At Newman University, we are proud of our record recruiting students from non-traditional backgrounds. With 99.6 per cent of our students coming from State schools (the highest percentage of any university in England) and over 50 per cent coming from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds, it is part of our Catholic ethos to ensure that those with the ability to study at higher level have the opportunity to do so.
"The award of a Silver rating recognises the excellent commitment of all staff to Newman students, especially with innovative and engaging teaching, enabling all our students to make the most of their potential. Students have the capacity for independent critical thinking, and are encouraged to use their learning for the betterment of communities and of society as a whole".