Teesside University Professional Development Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning: Recognising Excellence in Learning and Teaching (RELT)

During 2020-2021 we worked on seeking re-accreditation for our Professional Development Framework. In doing this we looked at how we could further enhance our framework.  For the PgCLTHE taught programme, key changes included: enhancements to delivery, more collaborative approach and modifications to the assessments.  The key changes made to the CPD programme, and now included within our 2021-2025 Framework, include:

  • Enhancements to the Participant Guide
  • More detailed guidance and support around the UKPSF and Descriptor Criteria
  • Inclusion of further resources to support participants and the AHE Fellowship Category Tool
  • Strengthening of the important of Fellowship recognition
  • Further guidance for Advocates in providing their Advocate Statements
  • Enhancements to the Review Proformas

We are pleased to be able to confirm that following a successful Advance HE outcome (in which the University was commended around several areas of good practice), with effect from 1st September 2021 we are now working with our new RELT Framework. If you are interested in progressing UKPSF/HEA Fellowship Applications through the CPD Programme within our Professional Development Framework then you should sign up to one of these workshops: Recognising Excellence in Learning and Teaching (RELT) – UKPSF/HEA Recognition Workshops

More general information around RELT and Fellowship Recognition can be found by clicking the following links:

What is RELT?

RELT (Recognising Excellence in Learning and Teaching) is the University’s Professional Development Framework for teaching and supporting learning in Higher Education. It encompasses our PgCLTHE taught programme and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme and it is accredited by Advance HE providing external and independent confirmation that these programmes are aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UKPSF). It provides participants with the opportunity to be professionally recognised through Advance HE’s Fellowship scheme.

The framework (aligned to the UKPSF) illustrates how University colleagues can ensure their professional practice is UKPSF/HEA recognised either through the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PgCLTHE) taught Programme and/or the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme. The PgCLTHE provides AFHEA and FHEA recognition and the CPD Programme provides AFHEA, FHEA and SFHEA recognition.

What is the UKPSF?

In Higher Education many of us have a dual role in terms of our professional identify and practice. We belong to a particular discipline and in many cases that involves belonging to a professional body. We also have our professional identity and responsibility in terms of our teaching and supporting learning practices. The UKPSF is the framework that relates to our professional role of ‘teaching and supporting learning’ in Higher Education. The UKPSF is a nationally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and supporting learning; it is managed and led by Advance HE who see it as essential to driving improvement in, and raising the profile of learning and teaching in HE.

Advance HE is a member-led, sector-owned charity that works with institutions and higher education across the world to improve higher education for staff, students and society.  Their  strategic goals to enhance confidence and trust in HE, address systemic inequalities and advance education to meet the evolving needs of students and society, supports the work of our members and the HE sector.  More information around the work of Advance HE can be found here: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/

The UKPSF can be accessed here: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ukpsf and comprises of four descriptors incorporating a comprehensive set of professional standards and guidelines for everyone involved in teaching and supporting learning in HE.

The PSF has two components: Dimensions and Descriptors.  The Dimensions of the Framework (p3, PSF) are a set of statements outlining the:

  • Five Areas of Activity that you undertake when teaching and/or supporting learning within higher education
  • Six aspects of Core Knowledge that you need to carry out your learning and teaching activities at the appropriate higher education level
  • Four Professional Values that should inform and underpin your teaching and/or support of learning practice

The PSF Descriptors (PSF, p4-7) are a set of statements (referred to as Descriptor ‘Criteria’) outlining the key characteristics of someone evidencing four broad categories of typical teaching and learning support roles within Higher Education.

Which Category of Fellowship is for me?

At the link below, you will find a free online Fellowship Category Tool (FCT) which will help you to determine the most appropriate category of Fellowship for you at this point and/or provide an indication around the extent to which you are operating in a particular category.

The Advance HE Fellowship Category Tool: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/form/fellowship-decision-tool

Answering the online questions about your work in teaching and learning should:

  • help you to check which Fellowship category is the best match for your current practice
  • prompt your thinking about different aspects of your practice as you plan your

The tool consists of a set of statements that are aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF) and its different Descriptors and Dimensions. This self-analysis tool will ask about your professional activities in teaching and/or supporting learning in higher education. You will be asked about the range of activities you undertake in your practice.  By using the tool to consider your current practice, your choice of statements should help to inform which category of Fellowship is most appropriate for you. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers and you should select the option which best reflects your professional practice.

When you have completed all of the sections which usually takes 10-20 minutes, you will be shown your results and a PDF report summarising your responses will be sent to the email address you provide. This will be useful as you start to put your application together for Fellowship or to reflect on your on-going professional development and career aspirations.

The following provides a general overview relating to each Descriptor and identifies those roles (which may be typical of some individuals) able to evidence meeting Descriptor Criteria.  It also indicates the opportunities that are afforded to colleagues by applying for Fellowship recognition.

Descriptor 1: Associate Fellow Higher Education Academy

Demonstrates an understanding of specific aspects of effective teaching, learning support methods, and student learning.  Typically, those likely to be at Descriptor 1 (D1) include:

  • Early career researchers with some teaching responsibilities (e.g. PhD students, GTAs, contract researchers/post-doctoral researchers etc.).
  • Staff new to teaching (including those with part-time academic responsibilities).
  • Staff who support academic provision (e.g. learning technologists, learning developers, and learning resource/library staff).
  • Staff who undertake demonstrator/technician roles that incorporate some teaching-related responsibilities.
  • Experienced staff in relevant professional areas who may be new to teaching and/or supporting learning, or who have a limited teaching portfolio.

By applying to become an Associate Fellow you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain professional recognition for your higher education teaching and/or support for learning practice that is increasingly recognised by international institutions
  • Identify and celebrate your strengths and achievements through reflecting on your experience
  • Benchmark your practice against professional standards and sector expectations
  • Demonstrate your commitment to teaching, learning, and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection and professional development

Descriptor 2: Fellow Higher Education Academy

Demonstrates a broad understanding of effective approaches to teaching and learning support as key contributions to high quality student learning.  Typically, those likely to be at Descriptor 2 (D2) include:

  • Early career academics.
  • Academic-related and/or support staff holding substantive teaching and learning responsibilities.
  • Experienced academics relatively new to UK higher education.
  • Staff with (sometimes significant) teaching-only responsibilities including, for example, within work-based settings.

By applying to become a Fellow you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain professional recognition for your higher education teaching and/or support for learning practice that is increasingly recognised by international institutions
  • Identify and celebrate your strengths and achievements through reflecting on your experience
  • Benchmark your practice against professional standards and sector expectations
  • Demonstrate your commitment to teaching, learning, and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection and professional development

Descriptor 3: Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy

Demonstrates a thorough understanding of effective approaches to teaching and learning support as a key contribution to high quality student learning.  Typically, those likely to be at Descriptor 3 (D3) include:

  • An experienced member of staff able to demonstrate, impact and influence through, for example, responsibility for leading, managing or organising programmes, subjects and/or disciplinary areas.
  • An experienced subject mentor and/or someone who supports those new to teaching.
  • An experienced member of staff with departmental and/or wider teaching and learning support advisory responsibilities within your institution.

By applying to become a Senior Fellow you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain professional recognition for your higher education teaching and/or support for learning practice that is increasingly recognised by international institutions
  • Identify and celebrate your strengths and achievements through reflecting on your experience
  • Benchmark your practice against professional standards and sector expectations
  • Demonstrate your commitment to teaching, learning, and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection, and professional development
  • Model good practice for other staff and be able to encourage and support them to seek recognition for their work in this area
  • Increase your influence and impact by gaining national and increasingly international recognition for your contribution to teaching and the support of learning within the higher educational context

Descriptor 4: Principal Fellow Higher Education Academy

Demonstrates a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and academic development as a key contribution to high quality student learning.  Typically, those likely to be at Descriptor 4 (D4) include:

  • Highly experienced and/or senior staff with wide-ranging academic or academic-related strategic leadership responsibilities in connection with key aspects of teaching and supporting learning.
  • Staff responsible for institutional strategic leadership and policymaking in the area of teaching and learning.
  • Staff who have strategic impact and influence in relation to teaching and learning that extends beyond their own institution.

By applying to become a Principal Fellow you will have the opportunity to:

  • reflect on the effectiveness of your work in relation to strategic leadership in teaching and supporting learning in higher education
  • model academic leadership to other staff and be able to encourage and support them to seek recognition for their work in this area
  • demonstrate your sustained and effective record of influence and impact in teaching and supporting learning by gaining national and increasingly international recognition for your contribution within the higher education context
Why Apply for HEA Fellowships Recognition?
  • It demonstrates National recognition of your commitment to professionalism in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education.
  • Demonstrates that your practice is aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework (2011).
  • Provides an indicator of professional identity for HE practitioners, including the entitlement to use post-nominal letters – AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA and PFHEA.
  • It is a portable asset with UK-wide relevance, increasingly recognised by HE (and FE) institutions.
  • It is an opportunity to gain recognition for the work you do in the teaching and supporting learning of students.
  • Many advertised posts in UK HEIs now specify HEA recognition for appointment; in some Institutions it may be a requirement for promotion.
  • More Institutions see Fellowship Recognition as an essential requirement for colleagues involved in teaching and supporting learning.
  • Your institution gains benefits from being able to claim its staff are appropriately qualified and recognised and your achievement can be recorded as part of the institutional Key Information Set (KIS) data.
  • Your students are likely to be pleased to be taught by a nationally-recognised teacher
The Importance of Continuing Professional Development and Good Standing

Many of us belonging to professional bodies relating to our disciplines will be familiar with the requirement to maintain ‘good standing’ and there will be certain work and activities that we may to do to retain our good standing. It is the responsibility of individuals to ensure they remain in good standing within their discipline, and this is the same with the UKPSF.  It is implicit within the Framework, as well as a requirement of Advance HE, that all Fellows remain in good standing and continue to work in line with their relevant Fellow Descriptor standard (as outlined in the Framework) and the Fellowship of the HEA Code of Practice.  Adherence to the Code and a commitment to professional development are crucial to gaining and maintaining Fellowship.

All colleagues are encouraged to record their professional development activity and it is particularly important that Fellows do this to ensure that they remain in good standing; a University requirement within the CPD Programme to Fellowship is to include within the application a tailored CV which details relevant learning and teaching CPD. It is important to ensure that CPD underpins your career in teaching and/or supporting learning beyond the award of Fellowship and the University is fully committed to the development of its staff and has in place an extensive offer of CPD, summarised below.  This is continuously reviewed and revised considering emerging agendas and staff requirements and is aligned (as appropriate) to the UKPSF.

Student Learning & Academic Registry (SLAR), provide a comprehensive CPD Schedule around a range of themes including:

  • Digital Development and Transformation
  • Curriculum Development
  • Teaching Excellence
    • Under this theme you will find the RELT Workshops alongside other CPD including: Teaching Development Programme, Delivering Personal Tutoring, Getting the Most out of Assessment and Feedback, Conducting Pedagogic Research, PGR Learning and Teaching Induction, Academic Learning and Teaching Induction
  • Online Learning
  • Academic Systems
Participant Guide

A comprehensive Participant Guide is available for those colleagues progressing UKPSF/HEA Fellowships through the Continuing Professional Development Programme.  Those colleagues interested in progressing Fellowship applications throughout the CPD Programme should first attend a workshop where they will then be provided access to the Participant Guide and other useful resources.

 Key Contacts

The University’s Professional Development Framework: RELT is managed by Academic Collaborative Innovation in Student Learning and Academic Registry.

Nicola Poppitt is the Academic Lead for the Framework, contact details are:

Nicola Poppitt (PFHEA)
Principal Lecturer, Learning and Teaching Excellence

Associate Professor Learning and Teaching
Academic Collaborative Innovation, Student Learning and Academic Registry
Email: N.Poppitt@tees.ac.uk

For general queries regarding the CPD Programme please contact: please insert our generic email address – Fellowships@tees.ac.uk

For queries regarding the Taught PgCLTHE Programme please contact:

Steven Fletcher  (FHEA)
Programme Leader for the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
School of Social Sciences, Business and Law
Tel: 01642 384055 Email: S.Fletcher@tees.ac.uk