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University receives top marks in national Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) today received a Gold award for the quality of its education – the highest possible rating – in a UK-wide review of university teaching standards.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national scheme, run by the Office for Students (OfS), that focuses on the areas students care most about: teaching, learning, and achieving positive outcomes from their studies. 

The Teaching Excellence Framework has three outcome categories – Bronze, Silver and Gold – and the Gold award signifies that ARU’s “student experience and outcomes are typically outstanding”.

ARU’s course content and delivery were rated as outstanding, with the report citing “innovative and highly effective course design and content that inspires students to actively engage and commit to their learning”.

Regardless of their main course of study, students take part in Ruskin Modules, which bring together people from different subject areas to create new ways of responding to complex social issues, while the Live Briefs scheme sees students work on real business challenges alongside industry professionals.

ARU was also rated outstanding in the areas of “student engagement in improvement”, “intended educational gains”, “approaches to supporting educational gains”, “learning environment and academic support”, and “learning resources”. Between 2018-2022, ARU invested over £40m into its estate to enhance teaching and learning, and continues to invest across all campuses.

The Teaching Excellence Framework also rated ARU’s “approaches to supporting student success” as outstanding, thanks to work to ensure students succeed both in their studies, and beyond. 

ARU’s Employability Strategy and alumni careers centre were cited in the report, as was the fact that over 9,000 students have taken their “Career Pulse” over the last two years, supporting their next steps into employment or further study. ARU’s Welcome Buddy scheme and the university’s fully integrated approach to students’ mental health support were also commended. 

The report also highlighted ARU’s responsiveness to regional needs, citing the School of Medicine, which was established to address a shortage of doctors in Essex, and ARU’s scheme bringing regional employers alongside course teams to design and continually refresh its courses.

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“Students are at the heart of ARU, and we are focused on maximising what they achieve when with us and the positive change they bring to the world as alumni. Our students are full of talent and promise, and we aim to channel their focus, harness their energy, and foster their self-belief, providing them with the tools they need to realise their potential.

“We have worked hard to make sure our courses are tailored to enable our diverse body of students realise their ambitions, and are responsive to societal need. Receiving this Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework demonstrates that we are achieving our vision of transforming lives through innovative, inclusive, and entrepreneurial education.

“I am immensely proud of our staff and the difference they are making to our students’ lives. I would like to thank all our staff, our Students’ Union, and our partner organisations – it’s by working so closely together that we are transforming lives and driving positive change.”

ARU’s Gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework follows the news earlier this month that ARU has been shortlisted for three awards, including the prestigious University of the Year title, in the Times Higher Education (THE) 2023 awards. The winners of the awards will be announced on 7 December.

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