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Finally, a framework that supports scholarship in college HE

26 June 2018

In June 2018 the Scholarship Project, funded by the HEFCE Catalyst Fund, converts into the Scholarship Framework. After three years of innovative work by college-based Scholarship Development Managers, 50 resources will be available for college higher education (HE) staff, students and partner employers – to develop and enhance their scholarship. Specifically, facilitating a distinct college HE scholarly ethos across the college HE sector associated with technical education at Levels 4 and higher, which is firmly centred on enhancing the learning experience for students. Recent policy initiatives – the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and different types of degree awarding powers, moves towards creating a credible tertiary technical education route, the establishment of the Office for Students – and consultation on post-18 funding indicate that England is probably moving into a new era for tertiary education. This will be reinforced by the need for the country to grow more of its own skilled staff as Brexit leads to reduced EU immigration. These changes will have significant implications for college HE in England. Colleges will need to state more clearly to their local communities the distinctiveness of their HE mission and vision. Many will embrace a tertiary technical education service with clear routes to higher level knowledge and skills; others, a mainly access and widening participation offer. In towns and cities without a university, colleges could consider a more expansive HE offer. But in all cases colleges will need to address the issue of ‘HE-ness’ and scholarship for their HE teaching staff and students. The research carried out by the project over the past three years, backed up by four scholarship and research conferences and over 100 case studies and think pieces, indicate that many colleges are addressing these issues imaginatively and successfully. The framework resources developed by the project will ensure that all colleges offering HE can ‘up their scholarship game’ and those already on the journey, continue to enhance and enrich. The project, underpinned by Boyer’s four types of scholarship – discovery, integration, application and teaching – is unique for the college HE sector as adoption of the framework’s resources aim to change both institutional and practitioner behaviour. In addition, the project explored the ways in which students might become more scholarly in their higher learning activities, and how links with local employers might become a more embedded feature of the scholarly profile. The framework website will include resources that is suited towards institutional development and change and resources for staff working at English colleges offering HE. There will also be a forum where practitioners can engage in a community of practice. Already over 50 colleges have agreed to adopt framework resources and support the development of the college HE community. And for colleges that housed project development managers there are clear indications that they have had improved TEF submissions and outputs. To register to use the scholarship framework, please click here.