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University of Bedfordshire - Universities HR Strategic Enhancement Programme

The context for the programme

The University of Bedfordshire’s HEA accredited CPD framework the Professional Teaching Scheme (PTS) had over the past two years prior to the start of the project been embedded into institutional practice. This framework utilises the UKPSF to enable experienced academics to reflect on enhance and share best practice to support new academics and all those who support student learning to develop and enhance their practice. The PTS was a significant factor in a QAA review which identified ‘The institutional culture and support available to staff to develop and reflect on their learning and teaching practice’ as a feature of good practice at the University.

The PTS sought to use the UKPSF (in terms of HEA recognition) in career progression structures including pay promotions (including professorial selection) practice and policies.

The next phase of the PTS which was initially focused on gaining and enhancing HEA recognition was to develop a robust evidence-based supportive and sustainable approach to ‘remain in good standing’ for HEA Fellowships at all ‘Descriptors’.

Thus they were interested in participating in the programme to:

  • Enhance their previous practice in particular with relation to ensuring policies and practice relating to the use of UKPSF to support staff transitions are aligned – that is that policies are implemented in practice and institutional strategies enabled use of the UKPSF in pay promotion and progression decisions
  • Develop and use evidence to improve the effectiveness of the PTS in supporting staff transitions
  • Disseminate their own practice and learn from the work of others
  • Evaluate and refine the processes and impact of the PTS on staff transitions
  • Consider in partnership with a national network how processes can be designed to support ‘remaining in good standing’ and ensure teaching excellence was rewarded and recognised through recognised academic career structures and transitions.

The areas intended for development

Participation in the HEA’s programme was to enable the University to pilot ‘remaining in good standing’. They first sought to evaluate the process already in place for initial recognition and enhancement and to consider whether this could be used to support academic and learning support staff to evidence their engagement in and measure the impact of their professional development against the UKPSF. The PTS process required a portfolio of evidence mapped against the UKPSF and an oral or written critical reflective narrative which demonstrated those teaching and supporting learning were engaged in professional reflection and development and were evaluating their practice for impact and effectiveness.

The second stage was to design implement monitor and evaluate the PTS review to ensure ‘remaining in good standing’. The University was keen to contribute to an evidence-base and was expecting to introduce a range of examples possibly discipline-specific or faculty based. These were then to be evaluated utilising the PTS evaluation framework which is based in theory and evaluates a wide range of elements at different levels including behavioural changes institutional changes and impact on student learning.

These approaches were designed to enable the University to explore the relevant institutional changes in processes and policies to support the process of remaining in good standing for example changes in performance review promotion criteria appointment criteria for those appointed with HEA Fellowship obtained at another institution etc.

A student reviewer was included on the PTS review panels for HEA recognition an element was researched from the student perspective. Through the project it was ensured that the student voice was an integral part of the process to ‘remain in good standing’ and this aspect was explored and developed as to how this would work in practice during the review phase of the PTS.