MPs and sector unite to pressurise HEA as model is replicated overseas. Rebecca Attwood reports

The Higher Education Academy is coming under mounting pressure to reconsider its decision to scrap its network of discipline-specific teaching support centres.

A petition against the plan has gathered more than 1,000 signatures, while 15 MPs have signed an early day motion demanding that funding for the 24 subject centres be maintained.

The motion says that the centres play an important role in “championing the teaching and learning of diverse disciplines” and “nurturing innovation in teaching”.

“This House…deplores the proposal emanating from the (HEA) to disband the centres,” it states.

The subject centres are all based in universities and directly employ their staff.

But the HEA, which faces losing one-third of its core funding by 2012-13, plans to replace them with roaming subject heads whom it employs itself.

Margaret Freeman, director of learning and teaching in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health at the University of Sheffield, said that most of her colleagues were “very concerned” about the loss of the centres.

“They’ve been a really useful way of networking, sharing resources and encouraging thinking and action about the student learning experience,” she said.

“At a time when we are all working to demonstrate the value and quality of our teaching, it seems rather perverse to cut off an active and valued resource.”

Read full story, and find The History Subject Centre, and on Facebook. Sign the petition.

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