What to make of the UK Professional Standards Framework for Learning and Teaching?

The name of the framework alone is quite a mouthful, and has the impossibly gauche abbreviation UK PSF. Don’t let this put you off. I have been chewing on the term and what it implies since its revision in November 2011 and am finding it quite palatable. In fact, I am enjoying the discussions the UK PSF has prompted with a range of colleagues who are interested in gaining national recognition for their positive influence on the student learning experience. These discussions over the past year have helped us to formulate a supportive process for colleagues to become Senior Fellows or Principal Fellows of the Higher Education Academy through engagement with this national standards framework.
The UK PSF forms the backbone to OCSLD’s accredited courses in learning and teaching, from the Associate Teachers’ Course and PCTHE, which map against D1 and D2 of the framework, and now a new Pathway Programme that maps to D3 and D4. The new pathway also has no easy acronym, in full it is called the OCSLD Pathway Programme to Principal and Senior Fellow of the HEA – the short form I’m adopting is the PSF Pathway which is nicely ambiguous in its use of Ps Ss and Fs – professional or principal, standards or senior, and framework or fellowship.

The UK PSF talks about Dimensions of Practice, which is a helpful way to bring coherence to the disparate elements of our professional lives and encourages reflection and development. The three elements in the Dimensions remain as they have been since the first iteration of the UK PSF in 2005: the values that we hold, the activities we perform and the scholarship that we bring to the role. By becoming Senior Fellow of the HEA you would be affirming your commitment to teaching and learning and its leadership.

Another aspect that I particularly like is the integrated approach to academic practice in support of learning and teaching, which chimes with the emphasis placed by us at Brookes on scholarship in teaching development.

Other institutions such as the Universities of Exeter, Sheffield Hallam and Roehampton have also been amongst the first tranche using the framework to shape their initial and continuing professional development in teaching and learning, each with its own distinctive institutional take on the standards. You may be interested to read their stories – see http://seda.ac.uk/index.php?p=15&n=22

There is more information on the HEA Pathway to PSF on the OCSLD site.

If you are interested in becoming a Fellow yourself, get in touch with me, Frances Deepwell on fdeepwell@brookes.ac.uk.


About the author

Frances Deepwell

Frances is as an educational development consultant in OCSLD with specific interests in continuing professional development and recognition for academic and learning support colleagues. She leads the PSF Pathway to Senior and Principal Fellowship of the HEA, is the key contact for the National Teaching Fellowship and Brookes Teaching Fellowship schemes and convenes the annual Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference. She is also a tutor on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education.

Frances is a Senior Fellow of the HEA, Senior Fellow of SEDA and member of the SEDA Scholarship and Research Committee which offers small grants to support research into educational development; she is a member of the editorial board of the SEDA journal IETI.

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