Working with individuals and institutions in higher education (HE) to provide students with an excellent learning experience is core to what we do at the HEA. This is why we manage and lead the development of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), a nationally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support. We believe that the UKPSF is essential to driving improvement in, and raising the profile of, learning and teaching in HE.
Ensuring good practice and excellent student experience
A comprehensive set of professional standards and guidelines for everyone involved in teaching and supporting learning in HE, it can be applied to personal development programmes at individual or institutional level to improve teaching quality.
The framework identifies the diverse range of teaching and support roles and environments. These are reflected and are expressed in the Dimensions of Professional Practice. The UKPSF clearly outlines the Dimensions of Professional Practice with HE teaching and learning support as:
- areas of activity undertaken by teachers and support staff
- core knowledge needed to carry out those activities at the appropriate level
- professional values that individuals performing these activities should exemplify.
The HEA knows from student surveys such as our Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) and the HEA-HEPI 2017 Student Academic Experience Survey that students care about good quality teaching. By aligning your practice to the UKPSF you show that you are committed to improving the quality of your teaching and supporting of learning to enhance the learning experience of your students.
A comprehensive framework and guidelines for everyone involved in teaching and supporting learning in HE, it can be applied to personal development programmes at individual or institutional level to improve teaching quality.
Depending on your role, you may find the UKPSF useful for:
- identifying what skills you need to develop and enhance your practice and progress your career
- applying for HEA Fellowship – an internationally valued badge of professional recognition
You are encouraged to use the UKPSF and to reflect on your teaching and support of student learning in order to remain in good standing.
At a time when the higher education sector is increasingly focused on teaching excellence, the UKPSF provides an external indication that a standard has been met and that as an institution you are committed to improving the student learning experience.
A nationally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support, the UKPSF is used by institutions to:
- enhance the quality and prominence of teaching and learning activities
- inform the professional development programmes for staff
- provide an environment in which staff are encouraged and supported to develop their practice
The Higher Education Academy is uniquely placed to help institutions to achieve teaching and learning goals and ensure procedures are fully aligned to the UKPSF.
Accreditation services are also available to subscribing institutions. This enables staff to undertake professional development courses that link directly to the UKPSF and be awarded HEA Fellowships in recognition of their continuing success in teaching and supporting learning.
It's implicit within the UKPSF, and required by the HEA, that all Fellows remain in good standing. A person or organisation is said to be in good standing if they have fulfilled their obligations.
It's the responsibility of individuals to ensure they 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.
Proof of good standing
We expect HEA Fellows to be working towards their next award and be performing, or out-performing, their current Fellow descriptor standard. All Fellows should therefore be able to demonstrate compliance with (at least) their awarded level at any given time.
Fellows should record their professional development activity to ensure that they remain in good standing. We support development, and compliance with Fellow descriptors, through workshops, seminars and conferences, peer-reviewed journals, research and resources.