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Ulster University first HE institution accredited to award fellowships aligned to PSF 2023

17 Jul 2023 | Advance HE First HEI globally to be accredited under the revised Professional Standards Framework 2023 is in Northern Ireland.

Ulster University in Northern Ireland is the first higher education institution in the world to be accredited to award fellowships aligned to the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) 2023. 

Globally, 178 institutions (145 UK and 33 outside the UK) are accredited by Advance HE to award fellowships via their own in-house programmes and schemes. Advance HE-accredited institutions include all types of higher education providers that have developed their own bespoke fellowship pathways, accredited and quality-assured by Advance HE, designed to meet their own specific needs and aspirations to ensure high quality learning within their context. 

Ulster University offers a range of accredited routes to fellowship including the ENHANCE Fellowship Scheme (Descriptors 1 – 4), First Steps to T&L in HE (Descriptor 1), Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (Descriptors 1 – 2) and Post Graduate Certificate in Education for Health Care Professionals (Descriptor 1). Now, they are the first schemes to be aligned to the revised PSF 2023. 

More than 85% of teaching and learning staff at Ulster University hold fellowship, with many interested in progressing to further categories. Robust internal evaluative evidence from the University confirms engagement with fellowship has led to significant transformational practice enhancement and confidence building for individuals. The evidence also shows benefits and impact for Ulster as a vehicle for strategic change and student learning, acknowledged by the higher proportion of fellows receiving Ulster University Students’ Union (UUSU) Student-Led Teaching Awards.  

Dr Sarah Floyd, Principal Fellow and Reader in Higher Education Practice at Ulster University, said, 

“The Ulster accreditation team saw the launch of the PSF 2023 and our reaccreditation as an opportunity to align our taught and experiential Fellowship routes with both the PSF2023 and Ulster University's People, Place and Partnership Strategy. Both emphasise equity, inclusion and how educators use critical evaluation and evidence to enhance student outcomes.  

“The PSF positioning of values first, and ‘in your context’ are already helping a diverse range of staff to see the relevance of Fellowship to their practice. We are excited to see our plans in action enabling Ulster educators to develop and demonstrate the myriad ways they impact on learners.” 

Professor Alex Owen, Principal Fellow and Dean of Learning Enhancement at Ulster University, said,   

“I am delighted to hear that we are the first HEI globally to be accredited under the new PSF 2023.   

“This accreditation demonstrates Ulster University's genuine commitment to the professional development of our staff as we embed the PSF 2023 into our strategically aligned development and recognition opportunities for all colleagues involved in teaching and supporting learning.”  

Revd Prof Will Foster, Advance HE Assistant Director – Professional Recognition, said, 

“Congratulations to all involved in fellowship accreditation at Ulster University. This a great achievement and accolade to be world first to reaccredit to PSF 2023 and it rightly recognises their ongoing commitment to higher education teaching and supporting learning. It’s really heartening to see that the revisions made in the updated PSF 2023 are already making a positive impact.  

“We are delighted that like Ulster, so many higher education institutions around the world are embracing fellowship because it shows the value they have chosen to place on it.  

Independent research by the University of Plymouth reveals the impact that fellowship has on both individuals and institutions who embrace it. Not only does it improve the profile of teaching and learning across institutions, it stimulates the focus on professional development, encourages collaboration within and between institutions and increases research into teaching and learning. 

Our own most recent research shows 92 per cent of accredited institutions use fellowship to support their own strategies for developing teaching and learning excellence. They increasingly see fellowship as crucial evidence of effective practice and figures suggest nearly 90 per cent are embedding fellowship within education-track career frameworks, such as probation and promotion pathways. 

“We look forward to welcoming even more fellows from across the globe as we accredit more fellowship schemes under the revised Professional Standards Framework 2023.”  

The revised Professional Standards Framework 2023 was developed by the sector after extensive consultation and was launched in January 2023. Find about more about accreditation 



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