The Higher Education Academy accredits continuous professional development (CPD) programmes which are delivered by higher education providers both within the UK and internationally.
Accreditation is the process we use to confirm that these opportunities for professional development offered by institutions are aligned with the professional standards framework (UKPSF).
This is a nationally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within higher education teaching and learning support. The UKPSF can be applied to professional development programmes at an individual or institutional level to improve the quality of teaching and learning and recognise excellence.
Higher Education Academy Accreditation is considered a ‘badge of quality’, requiring institutions to embed the UKPSF within policy and strategy indicating clear commitment to the enhancement of teaching and learning.
Programmes/schemes can be accredited as meeting the requirements of one or more of the four descriptors of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). This means that successful participants on these programmes will be eligible to be awarded one of the four categories of HEA Fellowship; Associate Fellowship, Fellowship, Senior Fellowship or Principal Fellowship. HEA Fellows are entitled to use post-nominal letters (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA, PFHEA).
Accreditation is only available to institutions that subscribe to certain HEA packages.
The benefits of Higher Education Academy Accreditation
Higher Education Academy Accreditation accredits higher education institutions initial and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes against the professional standards framework (UKPSF). Accreditation brings benefits to both academic staff and to higher education institutions by:
- raising the profile of teaching and learning, and celebrating its importance alongside research activities
- providing a structured approach to the development, recognition and reward of staff who teach and/or support learning
- demonstrating to students a measurable commitment to the quality of teaching
- raising the standards of teaching and encouraging good practice
- enabling staff to gain professional recognition for their successful professional practice as an educator
- making it possible to benchmark provision against internationally recognised quality standards
A best practice approach to teaching and learning
The UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UKPSF) is a globally recognised framework for benchmarking success within higher education teaching and learning support. The UKPSF can be applied to professional development programmes at an individual or institutional level to improve the quality of teaching and learning and recognise excellence.
Higher Education Academy Accreditation provides external and independent confirmation that professional development is aligned with the UKPSF. Accreditation provides participants on accredited programmes with the opportunity to be professionally recognised through the Higher Education Academy’s Fellowship scheme in recognition of their continuing success in teaching and learning support.
HEA Accreditation or HEA Approval
Which is right for your institution?
The defining feature of HEA Accreditation is that upon successful completion of an accredited programme or scheme, participating individuals are automatically eligible to be awarded professional recognition at the appropriate HEA Fellowship category.
Higher Education Academy Approval
HEA Approval differs from HEA Accreditation in that it does not automatically result in participating individuals being awarded professional recognition as a Fellow of the HEA. HEA Approval is external confirmation that a product/resource is aligned to the UKPSF and therefore may be used as evidence towards an application for HEA Fellowship.
Annual CPD Review
The HEA requires institutions to complete a brief annual review of all accredited CPD schemes. At present the HEA does not require an annual review for accredited taught programmes.
The HEA provide a template for this report, which contains data specific to the institution. This personalised template will be sent to institutions during September each year.
These annual reports serve several purposes. They:
- provide a platform for celebrating the positive impact that developmental opportunities offered through accredited provision have made within the organisation
- encourage institutions to evaluate the strengths and areas for further development of their accredited provision to lead to future improvements in the next accreditation cycle
- will be used to inform the opportunities for support and guidance material provided by the HEA
- will inform the annual visit planning of the HEA as part of sector wide quality enhancement initiatives
- will help the HEA to identify good practice which the HEA may then be able to disseminate with the wider sector with the permission of the institution concerned.
The annual review is in its third cycle and after consultation with Programme Leaders and institutions the timing of the review has been adjusted. Therefore the templates are published in September and should be returned by 1 December.
Success rates in HEA accredited CPD schemes
In addition to qualitative commentaries from institutions, the Annual CPD Review 2015-16 also gathered quantitative data related to first application success rates in internal schemes. The HEA ‘Success rates in HEA accredited CPD schemes’ report provides a summary of success rates across 103 institutions and provides opportunity for comparison with HEA direct application success rates over the same period.
It is hoped that institutions will find this summary analysis of the sector-wide data useful as a benchmark to support interpretation of their own institution’s internal data. Comparison of success data should also support institutions to identify and consider any areas that may benefit from some further development to enhance the operation of accredited CPD schemes and/or enhance support in place for individuals engaging in these internal schemes.
Programme of annual visits
In addition to requiring an annual review from institutions with accredited CPD provision, annually the HEA will visit a number of institutions to observe their internal fellowship judgement-making processes. These institutions will be contacted in advance to arrange a visit, although the HEA reserves the right to request access to the operation of any accredited programmes.
The HEA team will visit a variety of institutions, spread across the UK, with schemes that are already in operation including a mix of those in year one, two and three of the accreditation cycle. These visits will provide the sampled institution with constructive developmental feedback on the operations observed and will inform the opportunities for support and guidance material provided by the HEA. If concerns arise as a result of an institutional visit the HEA will be able to work with the institution in a proactive, developmental manner to ensure that provision operates as explicitly accredited.
Find uselful guidance and application documentation, along with documentation for the annual review of CPD schemes, approvals guidance and the Continuum Model of Scholarship in our dedicated accreditation resources area.