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University of Hertfordshire - Universities HR Strategic Enhancement Programme

The context for the programme

Following the publication of their new Strategic Plan in January 2015 the University identified key objectives relating to each of the seven strands of the plan. Within the ‘Education’ and ‘People’ strands the following objectives were stated which relate to teaching and the reward and recognition of teaching:

“We will be internationally renowned as the UK’s leading business facing university by:

  • Providing expert teaching informed by research business and the professions
  • Attracting and developing outstanding people
  • Recognising and rewarding excellence”.

To support the implementation of the Strategic Plan the University publish annual Development Proprieties. The commitment to achieving close alignment with the UKPSF is evident within the 2015-16 Development Priorities which were approved by Academic Board in June 2015.

It states “We need staff who embrace the professional values and apply all aspects of core knowledge within their teaching as identified within the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning (UKPSF 2011).

Staff development activities that support this priority includes supporting staff to engage with the UKPSF and to gain professional recognition for Learning and Teaching in HE (AFHEA FHEA SFHEA)”.

In addition to their CPD Framework and PGCertHE they were keen to develop their existing promotion criteria (Readerships and Professorships in learning and teaching) to ensure alignment with the UKPSF. Taking part in the strategic enhancement programme enabled learning from the HEA and the sector in developing the criteria and also considering alternative progression routes such as Associate Professorship. The Human Resources Team was in the process of reviewing its processes and procedures including probation and promotion so involvement was timely and enabled good practice from the sector to feed into the institutional developments.

The areas intended for development

Changes to HR policies relating to learning and teaching have developed over time but with work on Associate Professorship criteria plus the review of all HR policies the beginning of the project was timely to consider a more holistic approach to the reward and recognition of teaching. The University was interested in developing pre-existing policies such as those listed below to ensure embedding of the UKPSF.


Consideration of explicit reference to the UKPSF Descriptors in essential or desirable criteria in person specifications for academic and support staff.


Pre-existing probation reporting requirements were sometimes misaligned with exam boards for the PGCertHE so reviewing probation periods and reporting mechanisms with direct reference to achievement of Fellowships (at appropriate level) was considered be beneficial.


Consideration of explicit reference to the UKPSF for learning and teaching routes for Associate Professorship Readership and Professorship criteria.

Remaining in good standing

In addition to peer review of teaching and the annual appraisal discussions of learning and teaching related CPD the University was encouraging successful alumni from the PGCertHE programme and CPD Framework to become panel assessors for CPD applications.

These are examples of remaining in good standing but the University was keen to further consider other methods for evidencing and articulating ‘remaining in good standing’. They believed that participating in the HEA’s programme would allow them to benefit from expertise within the sector and would help them to bring their policies together ensuring a consistency of approach. The hope for this project was that it would enable an institutional culture that valued staff for their teaching expertise.