The context for the programme
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has taken many steps over the past few years to embed the UKPSF in its HR policies and practice. Whilst they had already experienced some success in this area, they were still giving consideration to a number of issues, including: whether a PGCHE should be a requirement, where a PGCHE sits within existing professional development frameworks, how professional recognition fits in and the relationship between formal, accredited courses and less formal but accredited CPD.
The overarching aims with this work were threefold: first, to provide clarity of expectation of what we expect from our academic communities in terms of the standards of their learning and teaching practice; second, to provide support for their achievement of these standards through effective staff development approaches; and third, to reward and recognise excellence in practice. They were keen to participate in the programme to enable them to both share their experience with other institutions and to receive constructive feedback on it, learning from other institutions experiences.
They were particularly interested in the HEA pilot relating to ‘good standing’, as this related to ongoing discussions at senior levels. They were also in the process of rethinking their institutional approach to academic development and enhancement, seeking to establish a more robust and holistic foundation for this. Finally, they had been undertaking a reviewing of all of our academic roles and career progression opportunities, and this project has provided us with an invaluable opportunity to reflect on the positioning and potential of the UKPSF to inform that work. The Centre for Professional Learning and Development (CPLD) formed a significant part of the Human Resources function and the head of CPLD was a member of the University’s Leadership Team. As such, they were well positioned to participate in the project and to influence change in institutional practice.
The areas intended for development
They were keen to explore the following three aspects of practice as members of this programme:
- What they could learn from HR colleagues in other institutions about different approaches to embedding the UKPSF, successes and challenges and how others had gone about addressing these;
- How to maintain momentum for ongoing CPD in learning and teaching, beyond initial professional recognition. This was not simply about expecting colleagues to engage in more CPD, but considering at an institutional level how to demonstrate that it was valued (though recruitment, probation, recognition, reward, other mechanisms), and how to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of CPD on the student experience. As part of this they were also keen to review approaches to researcher CPD and the interface between research, learning and teaching in terms of professional development, reward and recognition;
- They were also reviewing academic roles and as an outcome of this were potentially looking to consider different approaches to contracting with future employees. At the time, they were in the process of developing a new strategic plan for the University, and how they worked with, and the anticipated culture of their future workforce was to feature strongly as an element of discussion in that process. They intended to use frameworks like the UKPSF to inform that work, and the discussions that involvement in this strategic enhancement programme would afford were invaluable to this process.