1 March 2007 ............... Length about 1200 words (13,000 bytes).
(Document started on 22 Feb 2007.)
This is a WWW document maintained by
Steve Draper, installed at http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/qee/discs.html.
You may copy it.
How to refer to it.
Web site logical path:
Department of Psychology,
University of Glasgow.
The QET idea for disciplinary groups, at least for this enhancement theme
(other than that I have added numbers instead of the original bullet points)
appeared in the call for bids and also on a web site
(visited 22 Feb 2007), as: "subjects have been grouped into 9 broad areas of
generally cognate subjects as follows
- Health and Social care including: nursing, occupational
therapy, physiotherapy, podiatric medicine and surgery, radiography, social
work and related areas.
- Life sciences including: Anatomy, Aquatic Bioscience,
Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnology, Genetics, Immunology,
Microbiology, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Neuroscience, Parasitology,
Pharmacology, Physiology, Sports Science, Zoology and related areas.
- Physical sciences including: chemistry, physics, earth
sciences, astronomy and related areas.
- Creative and cultural practice including: music, drama,
drawing and painting, animation, film & TV, graphic design, photography,
design and applied arts, sculpture, fine art and related areas.
- Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary medicine
- Information and Mathematical sciences including:
computing science, mathematics, statistics and related areas.
- Business and Management including: accountancy and
finance, business and business management
- Arts and Social Sciences including: accountancy and
finance, business and business management, education, social work and
community education, languages, history, geography, philosophy, politics, law,
psychology and related areas.
- Engineering and the Built Environment including:
mechanical, electrical and electronic, chemical, and aeronautical engineering,
architecture, landscape, planning, construction, surveying and related
Superficially amusing aspects of this list include:
- "Social work" appears under two headings
(I've kept it in (1), removed it from (8)).
- Geography appears under Arts, but nowadays is often grouped with
science (under "Earth sciences"). In the HESA data, there are about 3
geography students under science for every 2 under social science.
- English Literature appears nowhere, even though it is one of the
biggest subjects in terms of student numbers: 2.5% of all students, more than
medicine and dentistry combined. (I've added it to (8) where it seems clearly
- Law appears nowhere.
- Agriculture appears nowhere (I've grouped it with Vets).
- Education is lumped in with Arts and SocSci, yet it accounts nationally
for 8.8% of students: by itself more than most of the QET groupings.
- "Other" in the table below refers to HESA subjects "combined" and "Mass
communications & documentation", both of which also appear nowhere in the
above QET groupings.
HESA 2004 HE students in study
|| % money
|| % UK students
|| % GU students
|| Steering group|
|| 1 |
|| 1 |
|| 4 |
|| 0 |
|| 2 |
|| 0 |
|| 2 |
|| 3 |
|| 2) |
|| 1 |
|| 0 |
|| 0 |
I've used HESA
figures for 2004 which I take to be an accurate picture of the
HE sector as a whole. I've then assigned each of the 19 HESA subject headings
to one of the above QET groups. I've shown Law separately; and also "other",
which contains "combined" studies and Mass Communications. I had to move
psychology from Biology (where HESA has it making up nearly half the numbers)
to group 8. Each of the QET groupings was equally funded under this QE theme.
I also (very roughly) assigned each subject heading both to either
arts/science, and to pure/applied i.e. non/vocational.
These assignments are highly debatable in detail, but I suspect that
revisiting them more carefully will not change the overall picture by much.
I also classified the steering group members by discipline/grouping.
You can see a spreadsheet outlining my workings
The original HESA data is at:
which also has a link to the
I downloaded the spreadsheet from that page and used just column B "total HE
students" and only the subtotals for each of the 19 principal (JACS) subjects.
The students here are those XX??
HESA online data
JACS coding of subjects
University of Glasgow figures
N.B. in my university, QET subject grouping 8 includes subjects from 5 of the 9
I've used as an estimate numbers from my university of students graduating in
2006 for each subject (using HEFCE's 41 subjects, then combining them as in
the above list).
The HEFCE data is at
The data for my university is at " files2006/tqi0168.xls".
Within that spreadsheet file, the worksheet "Table3_19" gives continuation
(dropout) data for that institution against each of the 19 HESA/JACS
categories, or an expanded set of 41 subject groupings (Table3_41).
There is a column "gained intended award or higher" that gives the graduations
in that year and subject.
Even after ignoring the 11% of students (in Law and "Other") not assigned to
any QET grouping, there is an order of magnitude (more exactly, greater than a
9:1) difference in how well covered a student is by this theme, depending on
the subject they study.
The contrast between pure and applied subjects is a significant underlying
Three of the nine groupings (numbers 3,6,8) attracted no acceptable bids at all
in the first round and had to be re-advertised: these groups are clearly
pure, i.e. non-vocational, subject areas. The steering committee, no doubt
similarly representing where the academic volunteers are, is only about one
third non-vocational, and only 40% of the money has been directed towards
such "pure" subject areas. (The steering committee has no-one from physical
sciences, maths, or an Arts (humanities as opposed to social science)
discipline.) Two thirds of UK students however are, broadly speaking, studying
Thus 60% of the money is directed at only one third of the students, and these
are probably already the best provided for in terms of employability and
The most vocational subjects have not needed any QE theme to grasp that
enhancing employability and graduate attributes is important to their
teaching. Academic staff in non-vocational subjects still are not generally
interested in this. The allocation of effort in this QE theme seems likely to
widen, not reduce, this gap.
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