Opinion Piece | A second TEF Gold rating shows the value of focusing on your customers

John Latham, Vice-Chancellor, Coventry University

John Latham, Vice-Chancellor, Coventry University

University news / Student news

Friday 29 September 2023

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Following the announcement that Coventry University Group (CUG) has been awarded an overall rating of ‘Gold’ in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023, Vice-Chancellor and Group CEO, Professor John Latham CBE shares his views on yet another milestone achievement for the Group.

At the heart of any university, or global education group as we are, is teaching and student experience. The TEF 2023 represents a moment of national recognition, celebrating the quality of an institution’s teaching by assessing a range of metrics including student satisfaction, student retention rates and graduate employment rates. To be awarded the highest accolade possible, a ‘Gold’ rating, in this year's TEF is testament to the quality education and teaching on offer at CUG and a reflection on our ambition to inspire and support our students in achieving their career goals.

What the rankings mean to us

These rankings do not just reflect teaching at Coventry University but encapsulate data from across the Group’s multiple UK locations. Being recognised for high teaching standards is obviously invaluable to CUG for several reasons, whether that be improving our ability to attract future generations of students or enhancing our reputation for excellence. Perhaps more importantly though, the TEF offers a welcome reminder of the impressive steps we are taking in house to ensure we are delivering the best possible learning experience to our students. They are the focus of everything we do.

Incorporating the technology of the future is a significant part of that and is an area we are actively seeking to exploit within our teaching. For example, in healthcare, our virtual simulation experiences (VSE) provide students with an immersive and engaging learning experience, bridging the gap between the classroom and real-life clinical work. Equally important is the environment in which our teaching takes place. Across the board, from the industry-standard facilities used by the College of Engineering, Environment and Computing to the cutting-edge immersive studios on offer to our College of the Arts and Society students in the new Delia Derbyshire building, we are ensuring the teaching and learning pathways at CUG are fit for purpose today, and tomorrow.

Challenging our academics

We are also constantly challenging our academics to grow, develop and be one step ahead of the competition. The Academic Enhancement and Professional Development team play a key role in this by supporting, guiding and developing our staff across all areas of academic life. The workshops, bespoke advice and continued professional development opportunities such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in HE (PgCAPHE) is essential to this. And we are not just satisfied in furthering the professional development of our own staff. Through the National Institute of Teaching and Education we are a leading global provider of both initial teacher training and postgraduate degrees as well education in educational leadership.

I am delighted that, as a Group, we are being consistently recognised for the teaching excellence and quality student experience we provide. To be the recipients of a ‘Gold’ award in this year's TEF is yet another success story in this regard. However, if we are to remain a leading institution for academic excellence, we must continue to be innovative in our approach to education and be willing to embrace new and exciting opportunities whenever we can.

There's more to come

We are not standing still or resting on our laurels. Students want and expect more and innovation is in our DNA. To enhance student experience and provide more opportunities to develop the needed by employers, we have launched Phoenix+ to bring together a wide range of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. This is designed to give them a rounded education beyond their degree courses and prepare them for the workplace. Many of our students do not have the same advantages of some of their peers but we know, and TEF Gold proves, we can give them the platform they need to succeed. That’s why we are here.