Keeping teaching at the HELM

22 November 2004

Keeping teaching at the HELM

ASTON BUSINESS SCHOOL (ABS) launched its research centre that will allow its academics to take time away from their duties to update and further improve their teaching skills, November 2004.

As well as allowing staff to reflect on their teaching activities, the Higher Education Learning and Managing (HELM) centre will encourage new approaches to learning and teaching, including the involvement of students in research.

Appointed as director of the centre, Aston's Dr Helen Higson said: 'There is a lot of activity going on in the area of higher education learning and management where Aston has already secured a lot of large grants;* the centre will enable us to bring all the different elements together.'

ABS was awarded an unassailable 24/24 by the Quality Assurance Assessment for the quality of its teaching and this new development points to even higher standards in this area: 'It's all about pedagogy and the management of higher education,' Higson said.

'By 2006 it will be compulsory for any new member of staff teaching in higher education to have such a qualification, so we're ahead of the game because we've been encouraging staff to develop in this way for some years.

'We also began a new initiative this year whereby we offer this opportunity to all PhD students within the school. They often go on to teach anyway so we are helping them to become the academics of the future.

'We're very research-led at Aston,' Higson continued. 'And it is important that we also research what we are teaching.'

Details of the centre's objectives include:

• being able to teach students more effectively

• developing new techniques that help ABS academics remain at the forefront of methods of teaching

• publishing papers

• attracting funding

• holding a practitioner conference and a main academic conference every three years

Higson was delighted that the proposals for the new centre were so well received when it was presented to her peers at the business school's research committee. 'We now have associate members across the university, in other schools of study - at least one member from each of the other research groups, some of whom are senior professors.'

'The new centre has all their usual elements,' Higson continued, 'but it is different from all the other research centres [within the university] because its main objective is to show that we are also a high quality teaching university.'

- ENDS -

For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes for editors

* Examples of current ABS research in this area:





Good management practice follow on funding



Dissemination of findings on comparative cost efficiency of central administrative services in UK HEIs


Learning & Skills Council

Student perceptions of language learning


Learning & Skills Council

Regional curriculum review



European integration studies in universities of the member states


Foundation for management education

Barriers for learning within the SME sector


Astra Zeneca

Climbing the learning curve: testing a model of work-based leadership learning


For further information see ABS's website: www.abs.aston.ac.uk/

ABS accreditations:

• AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/

• EQUIS: European Quality Improvement System

• AMBA: Association of MBAs

• QAA: Quality Assurance Agency scored ABS teaching a maximum 24/24

• RAE: Research Assessment Exercise. ABS is ranked 5B with 5* as the best mark

Written by Lucas North. For further information please contact me on

0121 204 4553 or email: l.north@aston.ac.uk

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research