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“More than just a Teaching Fellow”: The impact of REF and implications of TEF on Life Science Teaching-Focused Academics in UK HEIs

TIERNEY, ANNE,MARGARET (2016) “More than just a Teaching Fellow”: The impact of REF and implications of TEF on Life Science Teaching-Focused Academics in UK HEIs. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This study seeks to understand the effect of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) on Teaching-Focused Academics working in Life Sciences in UK higher education institutions. Twenty-one full-time Teaching-Focused Academics from England, Scotland and Wales were interviewed about their academic roles. Using Engeström’s Activity Theory as an overarching framework, a picture emerged of the significant influence of REF on the academic roles of Teaching-Focused Academics despite their exclusion from the process. The status of Teaching-Focused Academics is influenced by REF, as they are perceived within academia to be lesser academics as they are not included in REF. It is also perceived as a deficit that they are not included in REF for pedagogic research. As a result of this perception, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning was further studied to investigate the practicalities of pedagogic research being included in future REFs. Although the participants in this study were active in SoTL, the emerging picture of pedagogic research was that its purpose was for the sharing of practice, rather than high impact research. Furthermore, there was evidence to suggest that engagement with SoTL was hampered by the existence of threshold concepts associated with it. This has implications for the suitability of pedagogic research inclusion in REF. In addition, the workload and priorities of Teaching-Focused Academics may be impacted by the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework from 2016.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Research Excellence Framework; scholarship of teaching and learning; threshold concepts; community of practice; Teaching Excellence Framework; Activity Theory
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Nov 2016 16:23

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