The context for the programme
The University of Chester had a well-established MA programme in learning and teaching in higher education which included a number of modules accredited by the HEA. The first of these had already been made compulsory for all new full time teaching members of staff and was also available to a number of postgraduate students who were teaching. In 2013 the University also established a Continuing Professional Development framework that allowed other staff to gain AFHEA, FHEA and SFHEA status. In addition, this year’s HEA consultancy day was used for a workshop for staff who were interested in gaining PFHEA.
Inevitably there was some variation in how staff from different academic departments engage with the UKPSF, particularly given the different emphases between teaching and research that can arise, and they sought to address this by raising awareness and encouraging engagement in relevant activities. In his annual address to staff, the Vice Chancellor identified the need to increase the proportion of professionally qualified teaching staff in the University, even though HEA Fellowship was well above the national average at the time. There was thus a strong culture of engaging with the UKPSF in the University, but they were seeking to build on this interest and to identify areas where we can extend our engagement. Participation in the Strategic Enhancement Programme was to enable them to focus their activities by allowing them to network with other institutions and to receive expert input from the HEA in the area of the UKPSF.
The areas intended for development
The University planned an audit of their existing provision to see where it could be further mapped to the UKPSF in areas where this is not already the case. Examples included:
- One to one support for staff provided by the Learning and Teaching Institute;
- New CPD provision provided by the Learning and Teaching Institute, such as an online resource currently being developed for Visiting Lecturers;
- CPD provision from Human Resources and Management Services;
- CPD provision provided by Learning and Information Services.Human Resources processes;
- The University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy which is due for revision in the academic year 2016-2017;
- Other University policies developed by bodies such as the Learning and Teaching Sub-Committee, the Student Experience Committee and Academic Quality and Enhancement Committee;
- Faculty and departmental policies which were considered relevant.
Meetings with appropriate stakeholders were then to be held in the relevant areas to consider how the UKPSF could support such activities, and to identify those areas in which a more formal mapping to the UKPSF would be beneficial to supporting student learning. A select number of staff from relevant departments in a small number of areas were closely worked with to undertake this mapping. As a result of this an action plan for each area was to be developed to address such issues as how to address any gaps identified and how to communicate the results to staff.
This holistic approach to mapping the UKPSF across the University was envisaged to result in more coherent support of learning and teaching across the University than is currently the case with use of the UKPSF largely being confined to activities coordinated by the Learning and Teaching Institute. A further consequence of this was that that more staff would be aware of the UKPSF and the University’s opportunities for gaining Fellowship at all levels.