Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6168

Thursday 26 November 2009

Vol cxli No 9

pp. 254–289

Notices By The General Board

Learning and Teaching Strategy, 2009–12: Notice

The University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy sets out University-wide priorities in teaching and learning; it is available at

The General Board have overall responsibility for oversight of the strategy. Working through its Education Committee the Board will review the strategy each year, taking account of other University strategies which bear on teaching and learning. The General Board will agree and periodically review an action plan consistent with this strategy. The action plan will also be published on the Education Section’s website (

Review of Teaching and Learning Support Services Report July 20081


1. Introduction

2. Process

3. Overview of institutions involved

3.1 The University Library

3.1.1 Background

3.1.2 Resources

3.1.3 Quality of services

3.1.4 Support for teaching and learning

3.2 The University Computing Service

3.3 The Language Centre

3.4 Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies

3.5 Other institutions

4. Changing environment

4.1 Background

4.2 External factors

4.3 Internal developments

5. Future direction

5.1 Teaching and learning support online

5.2 Summary: the need and opportunity to reconfigure

6. Summary of recommendations

7. Proposed structure and governance

8. Appendix: list of papers received by the Review Committee.

1. Introduction

At their meeting on 6 June 2007 the General Board considered proposals from the Pedagogic Support Providers Coordinating Group for the improved coordination of central support for teaching currently provided, albeit in a fragmented way, by various institutions including: the Language Centre, the University Computing Service (UCS), the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET), Staff Development, and the Academic Division. In particular the Board considered whether to set up a Pedagogic Steering Group, as a first step, as recommended by the Education Committee. The Board agreed not to proceed immediately with that recommendation, but to await the outcome of further discussions by the officers about the appropriate structure, taking account also of the review of the future of CARET which is coming to the end of its current phase of funding.

In the course of 2006–07 an Advisory Committee was commissioned by the Vice-Chancellor to advise her on the future development of the University Library (UL), in the context of the University’s development programme. The Committee’s principal strategic recommendations were the need for greater integration of the University’s libraries and that a rapid expansion of the use of e-content should become a key objective for the UL. While not a prerequisite for future fund-raising, the Advisory Committee were of the view that opportunities for fund-raising would be enhanced if these recommendations were adopted.

At their meeting on 10 October 2007, the General Board set up a committee to review teaching and learning support services in the University. The scope of the review principally concerned activities currently supported by the UL, the UCS, the Language Centre, and CARET, as well as the coordination of pedagogic support.

The Terms of Reference were to review the University’s provision for the support of teaching and learning, and to make recommendations for the future having particular regard to:

the provision of high quality, cost-effective pedagogic support services to students and staff of the University

ensuring a leading and innovative role in the use of e-media in support of learning at both the undergraduate and graduate level

the physical location of these activities and possible infrastructural requirements

resource requirements and opportunities for fund-raising

future arrangements for the organisational structure and governance of these activities

the development of the University library system.

The membership of the Committee was:

Professor Andrew Cliff (Chairman)

(PVC Human Resources)

Professor Tony Badger

(Chairman of the Colleges Committee)

Dr Nick Bampos

(Senior Tutor, member of the Council and General Board)

Mr Peter Coulthard

(Academic Affairs Officer, CUSU)

Mr Simon Lebus

(Chief Executive, Cambridge Assessment)

Professor Melveena McKendrick

(PVC Education)

Professor John Morrill

(member of the Library Syndicate)

Ms Jan Wilkinson

(University Librarian and Director of the John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester)

Professor Steve Young

(Chairman ISSS, and of the Management Committees of the Language Centre and CARET, member of the Council)

Graham Allen (Secretary)

(Academic Secretary)

Julian Evans (Assistant Secretary)

(Academic Division)

2. Process

The Review Committee held four meetings between February and June 2008. They considered a wide range of documentary evidence (listed in Appendix 1) including submissions received following the publication of a Notice in Reporter on 20 February 2008.

The following individually attended a meeting with the Review Committee, to discuss their perspective on the terms of reference:

Dr Andrew Brown (Managing Director, Academic and Professional Publishing, Cambridge University Press);

Mr Peter Fox, University Librarian;

Professor Sir Richard Friend (as Chairman of the Journals Coordination Steering Committee);

Mrs Anny King, Director of the Language Centre;

Dr Ian Lewis, Director of the UCS;

Mr John Norman, Director of CARET;

Professor Richard Taylor, Director of the Institute of Continuing Education.

3. Overview of institutions involved

3.1 The UL

3.1.1 Background

The Standard Review of the UL in 2004 highlighted a number of key issues to the General Board. The main recommendations were that: a post be created to coordinate journal purchasing and the sharing of resources across the University and, in time, to find ways in which the entire library system can be streamlined and more effectively coordinated; the Library Syndicate and the Committee on Libraries be merged; the Library be spared further funding cuts even if this resulted in a further drain on other resources. In the longer term it was thought that more radical solutions were likely to be necessary to address the perception of the under-resourcing of critical services.

The submission from the UL in the Planning Round 2007 reiterated the concerns about funding in particular the need for the above-inflation increases to meet the rising costs of journals and staff. The Journals Coordination Scheme is now in operation in three Schools, and two more Schools are expected to join in 2008/09; some cancellations have been made, and duplication eliminated, reducing the impact of rising prices.

3.1.2 Resources

Total library direct expenditure in the University and Colleges is now over £20M.1a Within the University libraries about 75% of the £18.5M expended (2006/07) and 75% of the 440fte staff, are in the UL and its four dependent libraries. Outside the UL and its dependents, 46 Faculties, Departments and other institutions have their own libraries.

Oxford’s library expenditure is known to be relatively high, reported at £28M in 2005/06.

SCONUL2 data extracts (2005/06) indicate that total library expenditure at Cambridge, per user or student, is second only to Oxford3 and significantly higher than most.4 Expenditure on library staff at Cambridge, as proportion of total library expenditure, is average for UK HE institutions.

Expenditure on journal subscriptions across the University of Cambridge is about £3.7M in total (2006/07) of which:

(i)about £2.9M is made by the UL and its dependents, including the £1.5M though the Journals Coordination Scheme (JCS);

(ii)about £600,000 is made outside the JCS by Faculties and Departments, £400,000 from University Education Fund (UEF) monies and £200,000 from non-UEF sources.

3.1.3 Quality of Services

The recent review of HEFCE funding for research libraries (Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, March 2008), for example, presented Cambridge UL in a strong light as follows:


The scale, distinction and uniqueness of the Cambridge University Library collection are reflected in the quality of the services and facilities it offers external users. Particularly strong features include the complete digitisation of, and thus remote online-access to, the main catalogue and all rare books, the almost complete digitisation of the manuscript catalogue (at the collection level), the ambitious rolling programme of digitisation of special collections and the extensive volume of e-journal subscriptions. The immensity of CUL’s holdings restricts open access to about 30% of its collection but this is mitigated by an online advance ordering system and a rapid fetching time (18 minutes). Comment from external users in the consultation was overwhelmingly positive (all 46 user-respondents rated it “excellent” or “good”), with particular reference to the quality and depth of the collection. Opening hours (59.25 hours a week for most of the year), which exclude Sundays and mid/late evenings, are more restricted than in some other major research libraries. CUL participates in the inter-library loan system but does not permit borrowing by external users (for which some respondents expressed disappointment) and has not joined the two main national borrowing schemes, UK Libraries Plus and SCONUL Research Extra, on the grounds that it would be overwhelmed with borrowing requests were it to do so.’


The world stature of Oxford’s library collections is reflected in the feedback from the user-respondents in the consultation exercise, who in most cases emphasized the depth and uniqueness of material available. However, in contrast to Cambridge, LSE and Manchester, some features of Oxford’s library services and facilities were found wanting, notably the combination of closed access (73% of the main collection) and very slow fetching times (almost two hours for same day requests from the main stack, half a day from the repository and 2–3 days from store). Users expressed disappointment at the absence of borrowing rights: the Bodleian is a reference-only library and in parallel with Cambridge does not belong to the two national borrowing schemes. External users were also frustrated by the limited opening hours, especially at weekends and out of term. A partly compensating feature of OULS is the comprehensive online catalogue comprising almost the entire Bodleian collection and the significant future digitisation programme for holdings, including the Oxford–Google Digitisation Project (one million items alone), by far the most ambitious of any of the research libraries.’

3.1.4 Support for Teaching and Learning

The UL has traditionally supported the research needs of postgraduate students and academics whilst the Faculty and Departmental Libraries have primarily supported undergraduate teaching. Progress with electronic books and journals and online access to some teaching materials means that this distinction is breaking down. The UL is coordinating the majority of electronic journals purchases, and would like to move into electronic books; Faculty and Departmental Libraries are operating mainly with print and commonly pass electronic materials in their field over to the UL. The UL is keen to take a greater role in the support of teaching and learning. The time period in which this would be possible depends on the speed of the transition to electronic publishing and the will of the University to make the change. The UL has the structures in place to enable the development of a broader view of the provision of materials for the support of teaching, learning and research than at present.

3.2 The UCS

The UCS provides the information technology and communications infrastructure to support both the academic and administrative needs of the University and its Colleges. In addition, the Service provides many centrally managed services and facilities to support the teaching and research activities of the University, including teaching rooms, public access facilities, training programmes, the provision of consultancy and advice and the management of software site-licensing for the University as a whole. The Service manages the jointly owned Granta Backbone Network (GBN) on behalf of the University and Colleges, overseen by the GBN Management Committee. In addition, through the incorporation of the Telecommunications Office, it has also assumed overall responsibility for the telephone network of the University.

Following approval of a recent Report of the Council and General Board on the governance of information strategy and services within the University, the ITS [Information Technology Syndicate], GBN, and JTMC [Joint Telecommunication Management Committee] have been replaced by a single overall committee, the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate (ISSS), which also encompasses the remit of the former separate Information Strategy Group.

The mission of the UCS is to provide coordinated information technology services in support of the academic activities of the University, as well as the necessary Information Technology infrastructure to support both its academic and administrative IT activities. These services are critical to the success and reputation of the University and its Colleges, and the UCS delivers these services and facilities maintaining the cost-effectiveness and the efficiencies of scale achieved by the centralisation of shared services.

The support provided by the UCS for teaching and learning can be broadly classified into three categories: the infrastructure which underpins much of the IT operation of the University, specific targeted facilities which are available for use by individual users and institutions, and general support for students and staff in their daily work.

Information Technology is an extremely rapidly developing field, and to ensure that the University is able to take advantage of these developments for its teaching and learning activities, in a professional, co-ordinated and well supported way, the combined skills and experience within the UCS are of paramount importance. As an academic support service under the General Board it is well placed to provide the technical infrastructure support necessary for teaching and learning activities.

The normal annual operating expenditure of the Service in recent years has been approximately £7.5M, of which about a third comes from income raised from charges directly to the customers of its services. This has increased significantly since 2006/07 following the incorporation of the telecommunications activities; the total income to UCS in 2007/08 is forecast to be about £10M, of which almost half is provided by the UEF [University Education Fund] and the balance of the majority is associated with trading. The UCS currently has about 140 staff, including the Telecommunications Office.

3.3 The Language Centre

The Language Centre’s mission is:

to provide language learning opportunities for all members of the University and for the staff of the University;

to provide taught courses aimed at non-specialist language learners and EAP courses to overseas students;

to provide support and advice for the teaching of languages in the Faculties of the University;

to promote the application of new technology to all aspects of language learning.

The Centre supports four main activities:

general language training for students and staff (CULP);

English for Academic Purposes (EAP);

services tailored to specific Departments’ needs;

E-programmes, considered strong in French and Spanish.

The Centre has developed a distinctive method for delivering teaching and learning, part online and part face-to-face. Language teaching demands a high proportion of face-to-face teaching, but all courses have some online provision. Courses at advanced level have a greater proportion of online provision whereas the more basic courses incorporate the study skills training needed to enable students to work at a distance further into their programme. This structure makes best use of limited human resource, where it can be most effective; it is potentially transferrable to other disciplines and discussions along these lines are ongoing with the Department of Engineering and the Faculty of English, for example.

The Director has a vision for language learning in the UK and the Centre considers itself to be pioneering, ahead of competitors like Oxford. Much of the intellectual development takes place in-house. The Centre brings in writers and web developers as necessary to create courses; it also creates products notably for French and Spanish in cooperation with the BBC. However, it has not so far been possible to develop a sustainable funding model which can be extended to cover a large range of languages. The Centre also undertakes activities intended to serve audiences outside the University and whilst these are invariably worthy, there is a concern that they divert resource from its core purpose. Finally, as the range of online courses expands, there is a growing need to provide routine maintenance support which is beyond the current resources of the Centre.

Income to the Language Centre is of the order of £1M p.a., two-thirds of which comes from the UEF. There are about 16 core UEF-funded staff.


CARET is an interdisciplinary innovation group the aims of which are:

to develop and provide innovative support services for learning, teaching and research;

to evaluate current practice and user and stakeholder requirements and help formulate University Learning, Teaching and Research strategy in the future;

to sustain and embed innovative services through engagement and partnerships with other parts of the University and the handover of maturing technologies;

to be recognised as an international player and world leader in this area.

CARET supports teaching and learning in the University through:

infrastructure for access-controlled collaborative workspaces (mainly CamTools) to support courses, research and course evaluation;

fee or project funded development of special teaching applications;

individual self-paced learning provision for school–University transition (in development).

CARET is a small organisation which meets a need to support innovation; the latter is encouraged in an organisation which is able to respond rapidly to opportunities and is willing to take risks. But like the Language Centre, there is a need for good transfer mechanisms if a developed product is to be passed on to another organisation to deliver once it is in full operational use.

CamTools is an example of innovation in teaching support which, despite some criticism, is widely used. It is the only available option for the majority of teaching staff and it is rapidly becoming embedded across the University. However, there is no official University policy to provide a facility like CamTools and consequently no explicit resource to support it.

Income to CARET is of the order of £1.5M p.a., of which one quarter currently comes from the UEF; the core UEF funding is formally non-recurrent, pending the resolution of the Centre’s future.

3.5 Other institutions

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) currently offer online support for 20–30% of their programmes. The majority of their professional programmes are supported by online resources or are blended courses, i.e. teaching takes place both face to face and online. The international summer schools are supported by the delivery of information, pre-study materials and learning resources online, but all teaching takes place face to face. Several of their M.St. courses are supported online and some of the regional/public programmes are offered totally online. ICE aim to have the majority of their courses and all credit bearing courses with online support and/or teaching by 2009/10.

The Staff Development section of the HR Division have four teams in academic staff development supporting professional development for each staff group:

the Graduate Development Programme for graduate students;

Researchers Development Programme, for contract researchers;

Pathways in Higher Education (PHEP), for newly appointed University and College Teaching Officers;

‘CAPCam’, for experienced academics throughout their careers.

4. Changing environment

4.1 Background

One of the issues emerging during the consultation on a revised version of the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy (Lent Term 2006) was the need for better coordination of the current providers of pedagogic support, and better communication between those providers and the Faculties and Departments.

Following this, the report of the Pedagogic Support Providers’ Co-ordination Group (May 2007) to the Education Committee recommended the formation of a structure which would seek to build on cross-disciplinary and cross-functional networks in order to foster developments that will benefit student learners and their teachers. The specific proposals of the report have been put on hold pending the outcome of this review.

4.2 External factors

The Review Group sought to develop a better understanding of the rate of change of the balance between hard copy and electronic publishing. They noted how resilient the book has proved to be, contrary to predictions of 15 years ago. Journals are in the forefront of pure electronic provision, most notably in scientific subjects as demand in arts, humanities and social sciences is lower. The nature of research is changing to take advantage of wider access to materials.

A survey commissioned by the British Library in 20045 forecast, amongst other things, that:

published titles will continue to grow (at about 3% p.a. to 2020) because of short run print technology and growth in electronic publishing – more content will be generated in smaller packages;

the migration to e-publishing will depend on the type of publication and its intended audience;

few new monographs are published solely in e-format;

parallel publishing is expected to grow with only 12.5% of new titles being uniquely in print by 2020;

the proportion of new titles uniquely in electronic form is expected to rise to 10% by 2014 then more steeply to 40% by 2020;

for monographs in the UK, print will not die out completely in the foreseeable future – by 2020 18% of publishing output is still expected to be available only in print;

in the UK, the migration to electronic delivery for journals is well ahead of monographs – it is expected that the leading publisher will switch less popular titles to e-only in 2009 and this will accelerate the transition.

A more recent study6 finds that 60% of the total 20,000 active peer-reviewed journals are now available in electronic form. Many, typically younger and scientific users prefer the convenience of electronic provision, others insist on access to paper copies. Libraries and publishers continue to support the expense of hybrid provision.

It is currently not straightforward to forecast expenditure on electronic journal subscriptions separately from that on paper based provision, however, as:

publishers commonly offer paper-plus-electronic packages;

some journals, used for the support of teaching, are only offered on paper for the first year;

there remains some demand for paper copies;

at present, VAT is charged on electronic-only format, but not paper or paper-plus, making electronic-only currently less desirable.

4.3 Internal developments

Once electronic delivery of materials becomes the norm, the only cost-effective option is likely to be to centralisation of electronic provision. The continued growth of Faculty and Department based print collections may become questionable in the longer term. The current structure of independently run Faculty and Department libraries does not permit the delivery of a coherent strategy, and those libraries are often keen to maintain their independence. They have considerable resource, including staff resource, which could be redirected in response to changing needs if necessary; similar skills in organising information were thought to be required in an electronic environment. Extending coordination of materials to the numerous College libraries may be desirable but is likely to be complex in practice.

Progress with Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) is piecemeal at present, there being no overall structure; it is centred on CARET and involves a number of Departments where individual academics have developed an interest. CamTools is the VLE developed by CARET following the recognition that Cambridge was behind others in making use of this type of technology in education. CamTools is now in widespread use and consideration should be given rapidly to how it may be properly supported as an operational service.

There is potential to develop closer links between the UL, CARET and the Language Centre. CARET could provide the necessary technical services, and the Language Centre continue to develop innovative courses, whilst the UL take on a role overseeing the development of pedagogic support. One of the strengths of the smaller organisations is that they are small, ‘hungry’, able to move fast and take risks; they would need to maintain the freedom to operate in this way to encourage innovation. But they do not have the infrastructure to roll out the delivery of large scale operations once the R&D is complete, and it is not clear in what forum their strategy is developed.

The UCS Public Workstation Facilities (PWF) provide access to the major software packages needed by Departments and Colleges. However, whilst 98% of undergraduate students now arrive in Cambridge with their own laptops capable in principle of hosting these packages, current wireless technology and licence management is not yet sufficient to deliver them directly to laptops. It is estimated that this will change over the next 5–10 years and the PWF ‘Clusters’ may then become unnecessary.

With more coordinated online access to materials, some Departmental libraries, especially in the sciences, appear to be becoming more like spaces populated by PCs to facilitate access to the network. Some Departments are considering moving paper journals out to the UL and its dependent libraries to provide social workspace. Wireless access, which could become the main channel for the delivery of pedagogic support materials to students’ laptops, has been slow to spread and this has caused frustration in some areas.

The Review Group identified a specific problem for students at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE): electronic access is currently not available as it depends on access through the Raven authentication system managed by UCS who will only service matriculated students. The same barrier may apply to some Education and CPI [Cambridge Programme for Industry] students. Access to the electronic resources of the UL would be of huge benefit to ICE students. The issue of access to Raven for non-matriculated students must be resolved.

5. Future direction

5.1 Teaching and Learning online

Teaching and Learning in the future is expected to depend increasingly on the following requirements:

teaching materials including e-Books, video, and multimedia delivered on-demand anywhere in the University;

web tools for teachers to manage all aspects of course delivery, students to manage their learning experience, researchers to collaborate both within and across institutions, for online assessment and to create a web of social networks covering many aspects of university life;

integration of student record data with teaching and learning tools;

remote access to course-specific licensed software packages (e.g. CAD tools);

a mechanism for ensuring that every student has a capable personal computing device with wireless networking.

The pace of change is expected to accelerate and is unlikely to reach a stable position in the foreseeable future. To meet the above requirements, the following challenges must be addressed:

the University must put in place strategic and implementation plans to deliver the above requirements;

Library and IT support institutions must be organised to ensure that a teaching and learning services strategy can be efficiently and effectively delivered;

to ensure that Cambridge is at the forefront of teaching and learning in a period of rapid change, our ability to innovate must be protected and encouraged;

there must be a mechanism which allows a smooth transition from innovation to service delivery;

the current gaps in our institutional capacity to deliver the necessary strategic objectives must be closed.

5.2 Summary: the need and opportunity to reconfigure

In 2004, the Standard Review of the UL highlighted the impact that lack of resource was having on some services and emphasised the need to find ways in resources could be shared and the entire library system could be streamlined and more effectively coordinated.

During 2006/07, the General Board were alerted to the need to consider increased coordination of central support for teaching by the Pedagogic Support Providers Coordination Group. At the same time, the Visiting Committee of the UL, in its first annual report to the Library Syndicate, reflected on the future development of the UL. Its observations included the need for: greater integration of the University’s libraries; accelerated progress towards a single library system managed through a Director of Library Services; the rapid expansion of the use of e-content; and that consideration should be given to broadening the UL’s role to become a learning resource for undergraduates as well as researchers.

As noted in section 3.1.4, the UL has traditionally supported research whilst the Faculty and Departmental Libraries have supported undergraduate teaching. Progress with electronic books and journals and online access to some teaching materials mean that this distinction is breaking down. The quality of the services currently provided by the UL is recognised to be high.

The UCS provides the information technology and communications infrastructure to support the academic needs of the University. UCS provide a responsive service aligned to Faculty and Departmental needs and a platform used by numerous individuals but do not aim to develop teaching and learning support materials. They also provide transferrable skills training mainly in the form of courses on software for students and staff.

The Language Centre has developed a distinctive method of delivering teaching and learning, combining online and face-to-face provision. This makes the best use of limited resource and is potentially transferrable to other disciplines. However, the Centre is struggling to replicate online materials across a large range of languages and it does not have the resource to support service delivery beyond the innovation phase.

CARET has been successful in meeting a need to support innovation and has examples of innovation in pedagogic support in widespread use. However, it operates without a clear strategic steer from the University and, like the Language Centre, it does not have the resources to manage and deliver products in volume as operational services.

The migration to electronic publishing is accelerating and 80% of the University’s journal purchasing is already managed by the UL, including the Journals Coordination Scheme. The time is now therefore ripe for the UL to become responsible for the provision and dissemination of electronic materials for teaching and learning across the University. The UL can provide the structure necessary for the management of all content. The UL could oversee and focus innovation in CARET and the Language Centre without restricting the ability of the smaller organisations to manoeuvre. In this way, the UL would coordinate the development and maintenance of the necessary pedagogic support to be delivered over the networks maintained by the UCS.

Following the announcement by Mr Fox of his intention to retire from the Office of Librarian with effect from the end of March 2009, it is important to consider the future of that role. The Committee considers that the role of the University Librarian should be rapidly developed to become de facto Director of Library Services to oversee the broader remit of all the University libraries in pedagogic support that this report recommends.

A long term plan for teaching and learning support must encompass the provision of content and the IT infrastructure needed to deliver it; the latter will require the involvement of all of the organisations described in section 3 above. Whilst the new Information Systems and Strategy Syndicate (ISSS) aims to supervise the University’s information strategy, there nevertheless remains an urgent need for greater coordination and integration of effort. The proposed new role for the UL would contribute importantly to improved communications and cooperation.

There should therefore be a rolling development programme of pedagogic support and innovation implemented by the UL but steered by a new Teaching & Learning Services Steering Group (TLSSG) to be a joint sub-committee of the Education Committee, determining policy, and the ISSS, setting IT Strategy.

6. Summary of Recommendations

The Committee recommends:

(1) The role of the University Librarian should be rapidly developed to become de facto Director of Library Services7 and the UL should become responsible for the provision and dissemination of materials for teaching and learning across the University. This role should have responsibility for ensuring the provision across the University not only of electronic resources, which are rooted in the traditional activities of the UL (e-journals and e-books), but also the wide spectrum of web-based e-learning resources available over the internet. Close collaboration with the Education Committee will be essential to ensure that the provision of pedagogic support services is congruent with the teaching and learning mission of the University.

(2) Consideration should be given to merging the work of the UL Syndicate and the General Board’s Committee on Libraries into a single Syndicate8 which is able to work with and develop with the University Librarian a strategic vision which will ensure, amongst other things, that the UL can deliver the e-information and e-learning support for the University’s institutions.

(3) The Librarian will need to work with the library staff in the faculties and departments to ensure that faculty and departmental libraries can deliver e-learning support to their users. Different methods of delivery, working environments and a closer managerial relationship with the UL should be considered.

(4) The governance structure of CARET should be changed, along with its basis of funding, to ensure the longer term future of this organisation which develops critical pedagogic support to staff and students. It is proposed that CARET should be placed within two years, along with permanent core funding, under the umbrella of the UL by adopting the sub-Department model of governance (Statutes and Ordinances, [2008] p. 595). This would give CARET an ability to run its own affairs and budget within the constraints of overall report to the University Librarian. A consequence is that a Management Committee for CARET would no longer be required.

(5) The Language Centre has developed a distinctive method for delivering teaching and learning, part online and part face-to-face and there is potential for extending this to other subject areas. To exploit this potential, the Language Centre should also be reassigned to the UL within two years, together with its allocation, under the sub-Department model. As with CARET, a Management Committee for the Language Centre would no longer be required.

(6) In the interests of efficiency and cost, the purchase of all subscriptions for journals (and, in time, electronic books) should become the responsibility of the University Librarian in consultation with the Journals Coordination Steering Committee (JCSC). It is recommended that UEF funds currently allocated to the UL and Schools for these purposes should be transferred to a separate fund under the control of the University Librarian for 2009/10 onwards. The University Librarian should be invited to work, in the future, with the Colleges (through the Cambridge College Libraries Forum) to improve the coordination of library services across the Cambridge library system.

(7) The role of the UCS in pedagogy should be reviewed, in consultation with ISSS and the Education Committee, to include, for example, consideration of a strategy for improving support for academic activities and access to online resources for all students. The former would be enabled by the development of a culture more receptive to external innovation. The latter would be accelerated by the rapid spread of the Lapwing wireless service and the development of mechanisms by which non-matriculated students can gain access thorough Raven authentication.

(8) The (academic) Staff Development section of the HR Division has a role to play in helping to deliver staff training in pedagogy. The University Librarian and the Director of HR should be invited to work with the PVC (Education) to report on how this might be achieved.

(9) When planning for the redevelopment of the central sites, consideration should be given to the potential benefits of co-locating some of the many small units discussed in this report including CARET, the Language Centre and, where appropriate, Faculty and Departmental Libraries.

The General Board has been made aware of the constraints under which the UL and the other institutions are operating and will understand that some resources will inevitably be required to realise this strategic vision. While some economies of scale will be possible, it is likely that there will be a need to provide some funding to enable the restructure in the short and possibly medium term. This might include provision for the costs of:

rationalisation of paper versions of low use materials which are available electronically to include, potentially, re-housing, cataloguing and the need for a destination space;

the software and hardware necessary to support the development of pedagogic support materials, as well as the additional cost of those resources themselves;

staffing needed to support and manage these methods of pedagogic support, which may be additional to those currently provided by either the UL or Faculties and Departments, and/or may require training, development and reorganisation to maintain skills in step with developments.

7. Proposed structure and governance

The Committee recommends that an effective strategy for teaching and learning support should include the following elements:

(1) There should be a rolling development programme for pedagogic support steered by a Teaching & Learning Services Steering Group (TLSSG) to be a joint sub-committee of the Education Committee, determining policy, and the ISSS, setting IT Strategy.

(2) The TLSSG should be chaired by the PVC (Education) and have representatives from all stakeholders including ‘users’ and ‘suppliers’. Consideration should be given to how the TLSSG would interface with the University Library Syndicate and the General Board’s Committee on Libraries (or the proposed single combined Syndicate).

(3) The UL should be responsible for providing content: e-Books, electronic Journals, multimedia, interactive learning programs, etc. to include procuring content from external sources, digitising local content, and promoting the generation of new content within Cambridge.

(4) The UL should be given a more pro-active role in the organisation of Faculty and Departmental libraries and liaising with College libraries with the aim of providing cost-effective, high-quality delivery of library and e-information services through the University Librarian acting as Director of Library Services.

(5) The UCS should be responsible for delivery of services throughout the University and Colleges to include a high quality network (both wired and wireless) easily accessible by all staff, students and bona fide visitors, enabling web technologies, support for the specific software components agreed by the TLSSG and identity authentication.

(6) CARET and the Language Centre should become sub-departments of the UL. CARET’s primary role should be to support innovation in teaching and learning including the investigation and development of new technologies, advice on pedagogical issues and engagement with individual academics to develop new teaching. The Language Centre should continue to fulfil its core mission of delivering language teaching whilst seeking to pool its online development expertise with the wider support for teaching and learning.

(7) Congruence between the work of CARET, the Language Centre, and other institutions, and the general oversight of pedagogic support articulated through the University Librarian, would be overseen by the ‘Teaching and Learning Services Steering Group’ outlined above.

(8) There should be a permanently established Teaching & Learning Innovation Fund managed by the TLSSG which can provide ‘pump-priming’ for innovative academic-led teaching and learning projects.

Figure 1. Organisation of teaching and learning support

8. Appendix: list of papers received by the Review Committee


Membership of the Review Committee.


Background to the establishment of the Committee and Terms of Reference.


Report of the GB Departmental Reviews Committee Standard Review of the UL (May 2004).


UL: Planning Round 2007 statement and annual report.


UCS: Planning Round 2007 statement and annual report.


Language Centre: Planning Round 2007 statement and annual report.


CARET: Planning Round 2007 statement and annual report.


Summary table of funding for the above four institutions.


Report of the Pedagogic Support Providers’ Coordination Group (May 2007).


Questions put in advance to the visitors to the March meeting of the Committee.


Notes from the Director of the Language Centre emailed to the Committee on 4 March 2008.


The Director of the UCS’ tabled papers of statistical information at the March meeting.


The Director of CARET tabled a paper ‘CARET eLearning Strategy’ at the March meeting.


Notes from the Associate Director e:Learning at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) arising from the March meeting.


Notes from the Director of CARET, arising from the March meeting.


Data on expenditure on subscriptions for 2005/06 and 2006/07, with source of funds, across the University.


Information on Library expenditure in Cambridge during 2006/07, including Departmental and College Libraries.


Information on UK University Library expenditure 2005/06, extracted from SCONUL.


Information on the current UL staff profile.


Information on the location of PWF and Managed Clusters, and on the roll out of the Lapwing wireless service.


Information on usage of the Language Centre by Department.


A paper from the Director and Deputy Director of the UCS in response to the Notice published in Reporter on 20 February 2008.


A paper from Bob Dowling of the UCS in response to the Notice published in Reporter.


A paper from the Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in response to the Notice published in Reporter.


Publishing Output to 2020, The British Library/EPS Ltd, January 2004.


Extracts from The E-only Tipping Point for Journals, Johnson & Luther, Association of Research Libraries, 2007.


Extracts from Review of HEFCE Funding for Research Libraries, Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, March 2008.


A letter from the Project Manager: Graduate Education Review, dated 2 April 2008.


Questions put in advance to the visitors to the April March meeting of the Committee.


A note from Professor John Bell (as Chairman of the GB Committee on Libraries).


UCS Expenditure by service: appendix 3 extracted from Report of IT Syndicate for 2006/07.


Language Centre report on survey of departmental language teaching courses 2005.


  • 1See the Council’s Notice, p. 256.

  • 1aThe data on College expenditure is patchy, but it does indicate a proportionally greater spend on books.

  • 2Society of College, National and University Libraries

  • 3Except two institutions of a different nature, Cranfield and SOAS, also scored highly by this measure.

  • 4Cambridge Library expenditure as a proportion of total expenditure is likely to be understated, relative to Oxford for example, in the SCONUL published data. It appeared that total institutional expenditure data for Cambridge, at £880M, included UCLES and CUP. If the more correct figure of £560M total institutional, for ‘little u’, were used, Cambridge library expenditure was 3.7% of total institutional expenditure, well above average and closer to that of Oxford (at 4.6%, and where total expenditure appeared to be correctly stated). 

  • 5Paper 6a, referenced in Appendix 1.

  • 6Paper 6b, referenced in Appendix 1.

  • 7In accordance with the recommendation of the last Standard Review of the UL and the response from the Library Syndicate; the latter supported the view that the time may soon be ripe. 

  • 8Also as recommended by the Standard Review; at the time the Library Syndicate believed the merger should take place in the wake of other changes, or when such changes are agreed and are to be implemented