18 Dec 2015

Launch of sparqs' report on recognition and accreditation of academic reps

In November 2015 sparqs published a report highlighting practice and challenges in the recognition and accreditation of academic representatives.

The first piece of dedicated research by sparqs in this area, it aims to explore the kinds of activities universities, colleges and students’ associations are undertaking to give something back to representatives who engage in quality. It also identifies key priorities for further development shared across the sector.

The report was informed by desk research, a survey of institutional practice, and a number of site visits to explore perspectives in detail.

Research uncovered a range of excellent practice across different models of accreditation and recognition, and the report includes a number of case studies from both universities and colleges. Practice included certification, modular credits, mentoring schemes, and prizes and rewards.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most widespread tools were simple ways of recognising that an individual had taken on a role or attended training. Meanwhile more resource-intensive approaches that measure and reward development or impact as a representative were less common, despite the huge benefits in adopting them.

Indeed, this points towards one of the report’s three challenges for the sector, namely the need to strike a balance by measuring not only basic participation and uptake of roles, but the impact achieved through them.

Other overall challenges identified were the need for data on rep activity to be shared between often multiple sources, and the importance of institutional resource and strategic commitment to accreditation and recognition.

sparqs looks forward to receiving any comment on the report, any further examples of effective practice which we can share through our Resource Library, and expressions of interest in exploring the report’s conclusions in more depth.

For further information please contact Simon Varwell, Development Consultant – simon.varwell@sparqs.ac.uk or 07815 938966.

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