Academic Development Sub-Committee Report, AGM 2013

Annual General Meeting      

Derry, Jan 10th. 2013 

Report from Academic Development Sub-Committee

The Academic Development Sub-Committee (ADSC) is responsible for over-seeing the Association’s concerns with teaching and learning, research, professional education and employment.  Its membership in 2012 has been Peter Golding (Convenor), Natalie Fenton,  Maire Messenger Davies, and Sue Thornham.  Much of its work comprises responses and submissions to external bodies (usually posted on the Association web-site), and being central to the Association’s external representational role, is discussed and worked on fully at meetings of the Executive Committee.  In the past year its activities have been central to the work of the Association and many have been undertaken at main Executive Committee level.  Major points of activity have been:

1. The changing nature of central government funding for teaching and for student support, together with renewed public statements by political leaders of their preference for vocational and professional programmes of study, had led to worrying changes in applications for all university courses, not least in fields taught by our members.  The Association had some years ago prepared and distributed an advisory leaflet targeted at university applicants and their families, explain the variety and purpose of courses bearing differing titles in our fields, and also explaining the employment prospects of students completing such courses.  Preparation of a new leaflet was set as a primary task for the year, and work on this was led by Tim O’Sullivan.  Application levels for 2012 entry and for 2013 entry were closely monitored during the year.

2. Research ethics guidance.  A working group on this had met several times two years ago but work on it stalled due to inability to collate researchers’ experiences. It was decided to go ahead and publish on the website agreed principles for research ethics in our field, together with advisory information on relevant codes prepared by specific subject associations.  This was agreed by the EC during the year and is now posted on the Association website (at

3. The Association engaged in active dialogue with the BFI during the years over its proposed change of status and the use by the HE community of its library facilities.  This included a visit by senior staff of the BFI to an EC meeting in June 2012.

4. During the year the Association kept in close touch with developments relevant to our field in the Research Excellence Framework; most recently this has required nomination of additional assessors to be considered by HEFCE at a round of meetings in 2013.


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