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Introduction to the PSF 2023

31 Jan 2023 | Alison Johns Alison Johns, Chief Executive Advance HE, welcomes the launch of the revised Professional Standards Framework (PSF) for teaching and supporting learning in HE

On behalf of Advance HE, as custodians of the sector’s framework, I am delighted to welcome the launch of the revised Professional Standards Framework (PSF) for teaching and supporting learning in HE.

The PSF rightly has an extremely important place in the teaching and learning landscape. It is integrated into teaching and learning strategies, and supports institutions and individuals to provide high quality learning experiences and maximise student success. It supports reward and recognition, and underpins our teaching and learning accreditation –and our Advance HE Fellowships – which demonstrate personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. The Fellowships are now embedded across our sector – at the time of writing I am proud to say that there are more than 165,000 Fellows around the world.

In our 2021-24 Strategy we made a strategic commitment to our members that, on behalf of the sector, we would review the framework, so in a year where we celebrate 5 years of Advance HE, I’m pleased we are able to deliver this for the sector. It was important to us that this review be sector-led, highly consultative and draw on a strong evidence base. A Steering Group with proportional international representation was established to oversee the project and guide the Project Team. During the review the team undertook extensive consultation with over 800 academics and higher education professionals from more than 20 countries.

The Professional Standards Framework (PSF) has become a globally recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning. The PSF 2023 builds on the strengths of the current PSF while placing much more overt emphasis on:

  • the effectiveness and impact of teaching
  • the context in which the teaching takes place
  • inclusivity – both from the perspective of the wider range of staff now able to engage with the PSF and how more inclusive approaches ensure all learners feel respected, valued and have equity in opportunity to succeed.

With a greater emphasis on digital/technology, professional values, support for students, and collaboration, the revisions will ensure the PSF is fit-for-the-future and remains relevant and compelling wherever and however higher education teaching and learning are delivered.

While the inclusion of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) received low support as the consultation progressed, the importance of the PSF 2023 in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals is acknowledged; and we will ensure that examples of ESD practice will be appear with the guidance material that supports Fellowship, reflecting Advance HE’s 2021-24 Strategy which is firmly to connected to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

An obvious societal change we have seen since the framework was last reviewed in 2011, is the rapid development of digital approaches. I am pleased to see that the revised framework acknowledges the importance of the role of digital technologies, supporting the development of sustainable, high quality pedagogies to support the student learning experience and positive student outcomes.


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