Supporting Higher Education in College Settings: SEDA Special 36

Edited by John Lea
SEDA Special 36
Publication July 2014

You can order your copy here

College Higher Education offers a distinct experience for students enrolled on and staff delivering higher education courses of study. Student can be understood to have predominantly widening participation profiles and be from under represented groups. For them college HE offers an accessible, affordable and local opportunity to study for a range of higher-level qualifications: certificates, diplomas or degrees in vocational or academic subjects. Teaching staff are confident in meeting these students’ pastoral and academic support needs (Lawrence and Hall, in press), but face significant challenges in offering the ‘higher’ of a higher education experience. Some of these challenges are outlined here along with practical evidence-based advice on ways to support college HE teachers enhance provision.

These include:

• capturing HE-ness and nurturing an HE ethos (John Lea);
• developing appropriate forms of research and scholarship (Clare Gray, Rebecca Turner and Angus Carpenter);
• enhancing peer observation and reviewing HE practice (Kay Dutton and Eve Ripley);
• conceptualising the nature of knowledge in vocational curricula (Jonathan Simmons);
• and accessing and developing relevant continuing professional development opportunities (John Lea and Ellen Thinnesen).

Contributing authors have a depth of knowledge and experience from working in this sector of higher education, both in the UK and around the world. John Lea is director of the HEFCE Catalyst ‘HE Scholarship Project’ for the Association of Colleges and was recently added to the SEDA Roll of Honour.

The special will be of interest to those who work in college HE, and may be of special interest to those new to teaching, managing or leading HE in college settings. Validating higher education providers may also find the work useful when considering how to support the staff delivering their degrees in college settings.

The special has the potential to aid richer understanding of the challenges facing colleagues delivering HE in college settings, and offer inspiration for finding solutions to these challenges.


Lawrence, J and Hall, G (in press) Understanding the provision and perceived value of the academic and professional development practices of HE teachers in College Higher Education. Journal of Research in Post Compulsory Education. 23.4

About the blogger

Jenny Lawrence was a scholarship development manager on the HEFCE/Association of Colleges College HE Scholarship Project. She is now a Teaching Enhancement Advisor (SoTL) at the University of Hull.

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