Assessing the needs and practices of the UK Psychology Higher Education Community

Tweedie, Sarah
University of Strathclyde,
Glasgow, UK

The Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) for Psychology aims to promote good practice in learning, teaching and assessment in Psychology throughout the United Kingdom university sector. This paper outlines the main mechanisms employed LTSN Psychology to assess the needs and practices of the UK Higher Education Psychology community. The LTSN is a client-centred organisation and it is essential that a clear, dynamic picture of teaching in Psychology in the UK can be obtained to provide a maximally beneficial service. The paper will explain how the information is gathered, analysed and acted upon to tailor and prioritise LTSN activities and events to the needs of the community. The main areas of analysis are:

External reports and projects, in particular the national teaching review exercise (conducted mainly by the Quality Assurance Agency), LTSN Psychology reports, including the UK-wide Survey of Departmental Needs and Practices, Ongoing contact with stakeholders through visits to departments, logging of enquiries and LTSN Psychology appointed Specialist Co-ordinators.

The advantages of such analyses are primarily two-fold. Firstly, the pattern of needs that has emerged for the UK as a whole is instrumental for the continual development of LTSN Psychology’s strategic operations. Secondly, the analysis of current practices allows areas of good practice and innovation to be identified, nurtured and shared with the wider community.