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In January 2007 we commissioned the Centre for Study in Education and Training (CSET) at Lancaster University to conduct a formative evaluation of the Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) initiative. As well as a close analysis of all the self-evaluation reports published by each CETL, the team surveyed CETL directors and interviewed over 700 people involved with CETLs on a series of case study visits to host institutions. In addition, they spoke to a group of influential key informants with strong views about enhancement of learning and teaching, and to a number of vice-chancellors whose institutions were unsuccessful in the CETL bidding process.

This report provides a view of progress and direction of travel of the initiative at a point roughly halfway through the funding period. Its remit was to focus on the policy priorities of the overall CETL investment, not the individual objectives of CETLs themselves. We wanted to get a sense of how institutions responded to a funding initiative that particularly targeted investment in excellent teaching and learning. We also wanted a formative view that would both help CETLs in managing the second phase of their work, and help us in developing future policy in this area. We especially wanted to understand the challenges involved in initiatives of this type.

So although much progress has been made by CETLs, with many successes, the evaluation does not focus on this in detail. Nor does it assess progress against particular objectives. Each CETL has published an evaluation report on its own web-site and these describe their individual progress, successes and challenges.

More information about CETLs