Skip to main content

Enhancing reflective practice institutionally using the UKPSF

13 Nov 2019 | Sam Nolan Durham University’s Centre for Academic Development (DCAD) uses the UKPSF to embed reflective practice in teaching with significant interest and engagement from staff. Dr Sam Nolan (NTF & PFHEA), DCAD’s Assistant Director, discusses achieving the significant milestone of awarding its 100th Senior Fellow.

At Durham we’ve been active users of the UKPSF through our Durham Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award (DELTA) framework. We have a four-category system for DELTA addressing every step on a career journey that can span from PhD student to Professor. Since our engagement with the Advance HE began we have supported staff in gaining:

  • 571 Associate Fellows
  • 962 Fellows
  • 100 Senior Fellows
  • 10 Principal Fellows

This means that 89% of those who teach at Durham have a form of Fellowship. For us this is delivered through a number of courses including:

  • Fundamentals of Learning and Teaching in HE, a 30-credit module, which after successful completion leads to DELTA 1 and Associate Fellowship status
  • Our Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE, which after successful completion leads to DELTA 2 and Fellowship status

Alongside these taught courses we run a Professional Recognition Pathway for experienced teachers to gain Associate Fellowship, Fellowship or Senior Fellowship as appropriate, through a written experiential account and support staff through mentoring to gain Principal Fellowship directly from Advance HE.

We also run a number of enhancement based leadership courses in learning and teaching which provide staff with development opportunities around projects they’re involved with. Many of these make good case studies for Senior Fellowship or elements to include in Principal Fellowship applications.

Our latest milestone, our 100th Senior Fellow is something to really celebrate. Senior Fellowship recognises an individual’s contribution to leading, managing, mentoring and supporting others in learning and teaching, making this milestone particularly special.

At a personal level, having run the scheme for a few years I’ve been involved in the mentoring of staff and have helped over 50 colleagues gain Senior Fellowship and a number gain Principal Fellowship, which has been a really rewarding experience.

Through activities like our annual Learning and Teaching Conference and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Forum, our staff form an active Community of Practice in Learning and Teaching, supporting and mentoring each other. Our Senior Fellows are a key part of this.

Innovation in Teaching Practice is something we’re equally keen to explore, and our new £40m Centre for Teaching and Learning which opened its doors a few weeks ago offers a new Education Lab, where all Durham staff, including our Senior Fellows, can explore using the latest in digital technologies to enhance student learning.

Key to all this is the work of our staff and our 100th Senior Fellow, Dr Rosie Ridgeway from the School of Education, shares her thoughts on what gaining Senior Fellowship means to her below:

“I am delighted that I was awarded my Senior Fellowship as it is a public acknowledgement of the hard work involved in high quality teaching in higher education. I found the process of writing the application challenging, but the recognition involved in gaining the award has boosted my confidence. I am really grateful to the team for their support in helping me to achieve this.”

Dr Rosie Ridgway, Assistant Professor (Teaching), School of Education at Durham University

Find out more about Advance HE Fellowship and use our Fellowship Category Tool to determine the right category of Fellowship for you. 


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

Keep up to date - Sign up to Advance HE communications

Our monthly newsletter contains the latest news from Advance HE, updates from around the sector, links to articles sharing knowledge and best practice and information on our services and upcoming events. Don't miss out, sign up to our newsletter now.

Sign up to our enewsletter