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Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023)

Advance HE works with individuals and institutions in higher education (HE) to provide students with an excellent learning experience. This is why we manage and lead the development of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF), a globally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support.

Professional Standards Framework Review

The Professional Standards Framework (PSF) has become a globally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning. As custodians of the PSF, Advance HE committed to review the PSF on behalf of the sector in our Strategy 2021-24, acknowledging that the learning and teaching landscape within HE has changed considerably since the last review in 2011.

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PSF 2023

The PSF 2023 builds on the strengths of the previous 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 ensure the PSF is fit-for-the-future and remains relevant and compelling wherever and however higher education teaching and learning are delivered.

Alison Johns, Chief Executive, Advance HE introduces the PSF 2023 here.

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Ensuring good practice and excellent student experience

We believe that the PSF is essential to enabling enhancement, and raising the profile, of teaching and learning in HE. As of January 2023, we have accredited teaching development programmes in over 177 institutions across the world against the PSF. Over 169,000 staff in over 100 different countries have had their individual teaching practice recognised through our Fellowship scheme, underpinned by the PSF.

A comprehensive set of professional standards and guidelines for everyone involved in teaching and supporting learning in HE, the PSF can be applied to personal development programmes at an individual, institutional or national level to improve teaching quality and celebrate success.

Download the PSF 2023
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Individual benefits

We know from student surveys that students care about good quality teaching. By aligning your practice to the PSF you show that you are committed to improving the quality of your teaching and supporting of learning to enhance the learning experience of your students.

Depending on your role, you may find the PSF useful for:

  • identifying what skills you need to develop and enhance your practice and progress your career
  • applying for Fellowship – a globally valued badge of professional recognition, allowing you to join a global community of Fellows of over 165,000 individuals.

You are encouraged to use the PSF as a means to reflect on your teaching and support of student learning in order to continually develop your educational practice.

Learn more about how individuals have used the PSF to reflect on and improve their teaching practice:

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Institutional benefits

At a time when the higher education sector is increasingly focused on teaching excellence, the PSF provides an external indication that an institution invests in the development of teaching and learning, and that as an institution you are committed to improving the student learning experience.

As a globally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support, the PSF is used by institutions to:

  • enhance the quality and prominence of teaching and learning activities
  • inform the professional development programmes for staff
  • provide an environment in which staff are encouraged and supported to develop their practice
  • provide an externally benchmarked and accredited mechanism of peer-review to demonstrate quality

Advance HE is uniquely placed to help institutions to achieve teaching and learning goals and ensure procedures are fully aligned to the PSF.

Accreditation services are also available to member institutions. This enables staff to undertake professional development courses at their own institution that link directly to the PSF and be awarded Fellowships in recognition of their success in teaching and supporting learning.

Read more about how accreditation has benefitted staff in institutions across the world:

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National benefits

The PSF was developed in the UK but has now been used across the world to support teaching and learning development in higher education. Advance HE has supported governments and ministries to use the framework at a national level, to prioritise teaching development, and to create local interpretations of the framework that work in different cultural contexts. Working in this way allows individuals and institutions the opportunity to interpret the framework to meet their needs, whilst also maintaining alignment with international standards.

Read about how Advance HE has been working on a national level teaching improvement project for the Office of the Higher Education Commission and ThaiPOD Network in Thailand here

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The Framework

The PSF identifies components of successful teaching and learning. These are expressed in the 15 Dimensions of the Framework and the 4 Descriptors. The PSF clearly outlines the Dimensions with HE teaching and learning support as:

  • Professional Values that individuals performing these activities should exemplify
  • Core Knowledge needed to carry out those activities at the appropriate level
  • Areas of Activity undertaken by teachers and those who support learning

The PSF Descriptors are linked to four categories of fellowship that can be achieved by staff working in different roles in higher education. Find out more about Fellowship categories here.

Download the PSF 2023 here. 

Individual benefits