The Professional Standards Framework (PSF), managed by the Higher Education Academy/AdvanceHE in the United Kingdom, is a framework that allows teachers to demonstrate to others the professionalism they bring to teaching and support for student learning. The PSF helps individual teachers to gain formal recognition for the quality of their teaching in the form of fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, at four levels: Associate Fellowship, Fellowship, Senior Fellowship and Principal Fellowship.

As you think about constructing your teaching portfolio, it helps to consider the areas of teaching activity in which you are involved as a university academic (eg course planning, classroom teaching, building an environment conducive to learning, and so on), the kinds of knowledge you possess (eg knowledge about your subject, about teaching, about how students learn, and so on), and the sorts of values that underpin your teaching (eg values of respect for individuality, the equitable treatment of students, academic honesty, and so on). The Professional Standards Framework helps you to bring all these ingredients of your teaching portfolio into sharp focus.


The Professional Standards Framework identifies the following five AREAS OF ACTITY in relation to teaching and learning:

Designing and planning activities and/or programmes of study.

Teaching and/or supporting learning.

Assessing and giving feedback to learners.

Developing effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance.

Engaging in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices.

And the following six areas of CORE KNOWLEDGE:

The subject material.

Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme.

How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s).

The use and value of appropriate learning technologies.

Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching.

The implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching.

And the following four PROFESSIONAL VALUES:

Respect for individual learners and diverse learning communities.

Promoting participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners.

Use of evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development.

Acknowledgement of the wider context in which higher education operates, recognising the implications for professional practice.

If you are interested in applying for fellowship of the Higher Education Academy at one of its four levels, the PSF provides descriptors for each level against which a teaching portfolio is judged. Click here to find out more:
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