News story

Report on staff perceptions of the reward and recognition of teaching

Mon 23rd Feb, 2009

Major new research published by the Higher Education Academy shows that academic staff feel that teaching in higher education is not properly rewarded.  Over 90% of academic staff surveyed by the Higher Education Academy think that teaching should be important in promotions, but only a minority of staff think that it actually is. 

The Reward and recogniton of teaching in Higher Education interim report is the first of two from a collaborative project by the Higher Education Academy and GENIE (a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Genetics) at the University of Leicester, looking at teaching in higher education. This first report focuses on academic staff perceptions of and experiences about the reward and recognition of teaching. The final report, to be published later in the year, will include the results of a study into higher education institutions' policies for recognising teaching, and how these policies are being implemented.   The report will be of interest to policy makers, staff developers, and academic staff. 

Key findings from the survey of staff conducted for the research include:

  • Over 90% of academic staff think that teaching should be important in promotions
  • Most academics feel that the status of teaching is low in comparison with research. They also say that research is important, and that it is by and large given appropriate status and suitable emphasis in appointments and promotions
  • Academics in more research-focused universities are less likely to be satisfied with the importance their institution attaches to teaching in promotion decisions
  • There are differences in perceptions of the importance of teaching in promotions by type of appointment - the more junior the staff member the more likely they are to say that it is not important in promotions. Staff who are in senior posts are less likely to think that there is a sizeable difference between ideal and actual in the importance of teaching for promotion
  • Training and support are valued as ways of raising the status of teaching.