I wrote, in a letter to my professional journal
"An academic would be unwise to devote any effort to improving the quality of teaching since this cannot be quantified and will therefore go unrewarded."
The letter was about industrial support for engineering research (or rather the lack of it) but the point of the comment still rings depressingly true.
I have spent the last ten or fifteen years of my academic career trying very hard to make this statement untrue, arguing for the promotion and reward of good teachers (and offering them ways to improve and publicise their best efforts).
The rise of movements such as CDIO and (until their
untimely demise) the UK Subject Centres has, I hope, helped to stimulate
discussion of what is "good teaching" and the sharing of techniques which work.
It would be nice to think that my efforts, for example in writing
"Teaching Engineering" and
establishing the Active Learning Lab have made a difference to the quality of undergraduate education, but somehow I doubt it. I am more hopeful that our efforts to establish a university devoted to engineering in Hereford (called NMiTE for the moment) will eventually be more effective.