The context for the programme
The University of Wolverhampton wished to participate in the Strategic Enhancement Programme to provide support for existing and planned staff transition activities. The call for interest in the Strategic Enhancement Programme was timely, as it coincided with:
- The University’s work relating to career progression and workforce planning
- Formation of the College of Learning and Teaching (CoLT)
- Accreditation of the KUDOS Scheme
- Review and revision of the Learning and Teaching Sub-strategy
The Human Resources (HR) department was undertaking work to enhance and support career progression across the institution, and advocating a facilitative approach to staff development (e.g. talent management, coaching, mentoring). As part of a major review of workforce planning and development, the HR department is identifying potential skills gaps within the institution and ways in which progression and development of members of staff can be supported effectively in order to meet the University’s future requirements.
The University’s professional development scheme, known as the KUDOS scheme, to support members of staff to be recognised as Fellows of the HEA (Descriptors 1-3) was approved by the HEA in June 2015 and became operational on 1 September 2015. The KUDOS Scheme is run and administered by the CoLT. Feedback from the HEA regarding the KUDOS accreditation noted:
- A clear institutional commitment to supporting staff to engage with professional development which is closely aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF)
- The KUDOS scheme and taught provision sit well with University policies and strategies and there is evidence of strong support from senior management and the HR department.
During 2015/16, the CoLT led a review and revision of the University’s Learning and Teaching Sub-strategy. One of the elements that was considered as part of the review was an emphasis on the scholarship and professionalisation of teaching within the University.
The areas intended for development
The University wished to focus on two areas for development as part of the programme:
Career progression and raising aspirations
In relation to the existing workforce planning activity, the University wished to consider how the UKPSF can be used effectively to design development activities that support career progression and raising the aspirations of all members of staff who teach and/or support learning. This was particularly relevant to the continuing professional development of staff, which adopted a skills escalator approach.
In addition, the University established a three tier approach to management and leadership development (equating to salary bands: ≤UW7; UW7-10; ≥UW10). The University wished to evaluate the use of the UKPSF in relation to roles that are not necessarily focussed on teaching.
Remaining in good standing
As part of the KUDOS Scheme, the University wished to develop a systematic process for allowing members of staff to demonstrate that they are remaining in good standing. The University had a pre-existing peer review process that operated within the academic faculties. It has been noted that this Scheme is implemented in different ways across the institution (at a School and Faculty level). The CoLT intended to evaluate this peer review process during 2015/16 with the aim of renewing the process and establishing an appropriate level of consistency of practice across the institution. The evaluation also considered how a renewed peer review scheme could form the basis of an annual process for demonstrating that members of staff are remaining in good standing. It was anticipated that a stronger link was needed established between the peer review process and the annual appraisal.