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Academic Practice & CPD

Academic Teaching Practice at the University of Salford

Key Information

There are many models of reflective practice. For those reflecting on their academic practice, we highly recommend the following texts to support you in your reflection.

The UK Professional Standards Framework is a comprehensive set of professional standards and guidelines for everyone involved in teaching and supporting learning in HE. It can be applied to personal development programmes at individual or institutional level to improve teaching quality. We recommend  all staff engage with the dimensions of the UKPSF as part of their academic practice and apply for the appropriate level of fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, an award demonstrating relevant adherence to the UKPSF. To find out more, see our UKPSF              page.

Student Welcome and Induction

A key feature of Induction is a focus on the start of each Student’s academic journey on their chosen programme. So, as part of the induction week all programmes will include an academic project woven into the timetable of other school and university activities, and forming the academic back-bone for the induction week. The academic project aligns with the threshold expectations for Level 4 induction, which provide clear guidance about the desired outcomes of the induction process, without seeking to constrain the creativity of teams to achieve these in the most appropriate way for their context. Projects can be used flexibly with other activities at programme or School level to allow you to offer the most inclusive and engaging programme.

Find out more...

Observation of Teaching

All academic staff, other than hourly paid, involved in teaching are expected to engage in the University's Observation of Teaching Policy. However, anyone involved in teaching at the University is encouraged to engage in observation of teaching.  To find out more, please see the Observation of Teaching page.

Recommended Teaching Practice at the University of Salford

Your role as an academic at the University of Salford will likely involve a range of practice across the design, delivery and assessment of your students learning. The information below is intended to highlight University recommended practice as well as signposting key policies and guidance from across  the  University  relating to learning, teaching, assessment and feedback.

Curriculum Design

Teachers in higher education are constantly required to design and re-design modules and courses. Without a grounding and an understanding of the principles of good design, it is predicted that curricula will be created that do not function as effectively as they might. Also, it is likely that those who are creating them will tend - with the best intentions - to replicate that which is familiar: whether it works or not. Kleiman, 2009

Constructive Alignment

Constructive alignment is a principle devised by Biggs and Tang (2011) to promote deliberate alignment between the planned learning activities and the learning outcomes in a conscious effort to provide the learner with a clearly specified goal, a well designed learning activity or activities that are appropriate for the task, and well designed assessment criteria for giving feedback to the learner. At the University of Salford, constructive alignment is a key principle underpinning the design and approval process for new and existing programmes of study.

Learner Centred

Learner centred teaching and learning is a method of teaching whereby the focus of activity shifts from the teacher to the learner. An example of this would be a move from a lecture based format, where the teacher is the focus of the learning environment, to a problem based learning approach where the student takes control of their learning under the guidance of the teacher.

Teaching in the Classroom

Physical learning spaces  can take many forms at the University of Salford, from lecture theatres to informal learning zones, seminar rooms to industry collaboration zones.

When considering how to engage your students in the face to face environment, we highly recommend, and regularly use in our development sessions, the JISC Viewpoints Learner Engagement toolkit.

Seminars, Workshops & the Flipped Classroom

Traditionally, seminars  involve group discussion of material presented either   in a lecture or in set reading. The prupose of this is to develop student skills in working with   others and in orally presenting material to help them take a full   and active part in thier learning. Seminar sessions are becoming more developed in their approach to learning, with a range of active learning practices  and often a 'flipped classroom' model used.

The underlying principles of inverted teaching, or the 'flipped classroom' as it is more commonly known, are not new. If you have ever asked students to read an article or view a resource in their own time in order to prepare for an active learning session in the physical learning space, then you have            flipped your classroom. However, the growth of online multimedia use in higher education has led to a deeper exploration of this practice and the development of a number of models of implementation.

One model which the QEO recommends is the 'Four Pillars of F.L.I.P.' That is, to flip your classroom you must:

  • Facilitate a flexible environment, both physically in that students can be active, and in regards to the expectations of students to allow students to learn at their own pace and in a format relevant to their own personal context.
  • Drive a shift in the learning culture of the classroom to a student centred approach.
  • Generate or source intentional content to clearly address direct instruction outside of the classroom.
  • Be a professional educator, taking a less visibly prominent role than a traditional lecturer, and instead being a highly observant, critical and reflective facilitator of learning.

Active Learning

Active learning is learning which engages and challenges children and young people’s thinking using real-life and imaginary situations. It takes full advantage of the opportunities for learning presented by: spontaneous play; planned, purposeful play; investigating and exploring; events and life experiences; focused learning and teaching. All active learning opportunities can be supported when necessary through sensitive intervention to support or extend learning.

Group Activities

Group work involves many skills of listening, questioning, responding and explaining, for both teachers and students. Crucial to these for the teacher is leadership. Here important things to remember are flexibility and focus. It is important to keep to the focus of the topic, but if the group wants to discuss something relevant but which you have not prepared, try to fit it in and take something else out. Sparking off ideas is usually appreciated but dominating the discussion is not. Try hard not to fall back onto the position of expert, authority and prime talker. It's useful here to think about the research on what students don't like. Pre-eminent here are being made to contribute when you don't want to; being interrogated; being asked vague questions; having your view summarily shot down; tutors appearing bored. Conversely, being genuinely enthusiastic in the topic is regarded as a real plus.

Teaching Beyond the Classroom

Virtual learning spaces are quickly becoming synonymous with physical learning spaces, with opportunities for communication, interaction and collaboration providing a growing wealth of teaching opportunities.

Blended Learning

Online Collaboration & Communities of Practice

Online & Distance Learning

If you are considering designing a new online programmer, or developing an existing programmer for online delivery, we would highly recommended discussing this with an Academic Developer from the QEO.


You may find the following models, frameworks and resources useful when designing, delivering and evaluating online programmes of study.

Gilly Salmon's 5 Stage Model

JISC Digital Medial: Webinars in Education


CC BY 2.0 (Flickr: Alberto G - Exam )

Assessment Lifecycle

The assessment and feedback lifecycle is an academic model showing a high level view of the academic processes involved in assessment and feedback. It is intended to be pedagogically neutral ie, it is more concerned with asking questions and stimulating thought than having a basis in any particular pedagogic stance. The model can apply to both formative and summative assessment and to any scale of learning from a three year degree to a short course that takes place over a single day. It covers all assessment and feedback practice whether or not materials are in digital format or supported by information systems. HEA (2014)

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is the formal or informal procedure of assessing a student's understanding during the learning journey to inform and modify teaching and learning activities. Assessment and Learning: differences and relationships between formative and summative assessment.

You may also be interested in the JISC Viewpoints Assessment and Feedback toolkit which considers assessment and feedback from the perspective of engaging students.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is the process by which we evaluate student learning and academic achievement at the conclusion of a defined period — typically at the end of a project or module. The following guidance and signposted documents and policies have been broken down into the key activities you        as        an        academic            will engage with when summatively assessing students.

You may also be interested in the JISC Viewpoints Assessment and Feedback toolkit which considers assessment and feedback from the perspective of engaging students.

Authentic Assessment

An authentic task is a problem task that confronts students with activities that are also carried out in professional practice. The fact that an authentic task is crucial for an authentic assessment is undisputed (Herrington & Herrington, 1998; Newmann, 1997; Wiggins, 1993), but different researchers stress different elements of an authentic task.


Purposes of Feedback HEA: Feedback Toolkit


For more information we recommend the JISC Guide ' Feedback and feed forward:                        Using technology to support students’ progression over time.'

Verbal Feedback

Written Feedback

Multimedia Feedback

JISC: Audio Feedback

Advice and Development

The following information is intended to provide an overview of key information and support available relating to common assessment and feedback activities at the University of Salford. Should you require more detailed advice or information, please contact an academic developer in the QEO team.

Planning your Initial Professional Development

New to Teaching

If you are new to teaching, or new to the University of Salford and do not have a teaching qualification, it is likely that as part of your probation you will be required to complete our internal Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). This is a 60 credit level 7 programme open to all academic      staff working in the university.

Accreditation and Recognition

Engagement with the above activities is recognised through the award of Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice with HEA Fellowship. Please see the PGCAP and HEA Fellowship tabs for further info and contact a QEO academic developer to discuss.

Graduate Teaching Students (GTS)

As a GTS, you will likely be  new to teaching. While your teaching commitments may not meet the minimum entry requirements for the PGCAP, you are welcome to enrol on the GTS Introduction to Teaching and Learning programme provided by the QEO. Contact a QEO Academic Developer to find out more. We also recommend you attend workshops and events relating to developing teaching and learning practice.

Accreditation and Recognition

As a GTS we recommend application for the HEA Associate Fellowship. Please see the HEA Fellowship tab for further info and contact a QEO academic developer to discuss.

Planning your Continuing Professional Development


If you are an experienced lecturer with a teaching qualification, but without module or programme leadership commitments, you will likely be interested in ways to improve your academic practice. We offer a wide range of Academic Development workshops as well as support for staff to support them to      explore their CPD requirements and personalise their engagement.

If you are a lecturer without a teaching qualification, we highly recommend completing our internal Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. This is a 60 credit masters level programme open to all academic staff working at the university. This is a nationally recognised qualification and will be of benefit to you when applying for any Higher Education teaching position.

Accreditation and Recognition

For staff working as lecturers with a teaching qualification but without HEA Fellowship, we recommend application for HEA Fellowship.

For staff working as lecturers without a teaching qualification, we recommend enrolling on the PGCAP programme which is recognised through the award of Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice and HEA Fellowship. Please see the HEA Fellowship and PGCAP tabs for further info and contact a member of the Academic Development      team to discuss.

Senior Lecturers, Module Leaders & Programme Leaders

As a Module Leader, you will likely have completed the PGCAP or an equivalent teaching qualification, and have experience of teaching and assessment practice. Your CPD needs will therefore be more focused on overall management of your module, and looking to introduce improved      practice to the module team. You may already have Fellowship of the HEA. If you don't we would highly recommend engaging with this process in order to allow you to reflect on your module and its alignment to the UKPSF. If you do have Fellowship, your leadership of the      module will put you in a position to apply for Senior Fellowship.

Accreditation and Recognition

For staff working at a Module Leader level, we would recommend application for the (depending on experience):

HEA Fellowship


HEA Senior Fellowship

Please see the HEA Fellowship page for further info and contact a member of the Academic Development team to discuss.

Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice

The PGCAP is a 60 credit level 7 programme designed for members of staff of the University of Salford. The programme aims to support your professional development and enhance your practice in relation to learning and teaching. It provides a supportive but challenging framework within which participants can      develop their knowledge and understanding, skills and practice as academic professionals in Higher Education.

The PGCAP is designed for members of staff who are both new and experienced academics as well as other staff who support learning at the University of Salford. Successful completion leads to a recognised teaching qualification in Higher Education. The programme is also directly aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework, and successful completion leads to Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

There are two cohorts per year, commencing in September and January.

To apply complete the application form and the letter of support and send to

The deadline for January 2018 applications is Friday 17th November 2017.


The programme comprises two modules: you begin with the core module, Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE), and then choose your second, optional module from either Assessment and Feedback for Learning (AFL) or Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL).

Your study pattern depends on when you start (September or January). The September cohort meets on Tuesdays and the January cohort on Thursdays; sessions run 13:00 - 16:00 for all modules.


Sept 17

Jan 18

Sept 18

Jan 19

Sept 20

Jan 21


Module 1: LTHE

Module 2: AFL/FDOL

Module 1: LTHE

Module 2: AFL/FDOL

Module 1: LTHE

Module 2: AFL/FDOL


Module 2: AFL/FDOL

Module 1: LTHE

Module 2: AFL/FDOL

Module 1: LTHE

Module 2: AFL/FDOL

Module 1: LTHE

Learning & Teaching in Higher Education

Module Leader: Sean Walton, or 0161 295 5945.

Core module for all PGCAP students.

The module will commence with an induction workshop 10am-4.30pm. Details will be provided with your joining instructions.

Download Module Specification

Learning in Higher Education is at the heart of this module. From the very beginning and throughout, you will have the opportunity to share your experiences, prior knowledge and skills within a multidisciplinary learning community. This will enable you to engage in a dialogue with peers and tutors,learn      with and from each other, in learning sets and with other students on this module. You will reflect through discussion and questioning on your own academic practice and you will develop your knowledge and skills, and keep up-to-date with the changing HE landscape.

Our vision is to encourage you to be open-minded, curious, critical and creative thinkers as well as problem-solvers. We will work with you to assist you in becoming reflective and empowered practitioners who create innovative learning and teaching opportunities.

The themes explored include theories of learning and of teaching, assessing and feeding back, the student experience and the role of observation in academic practice.

Assessment & Feedback for Learning

Module Leader: Sean Walton, or 0161 295 5945.

For PGCAP participants who have already completed the core module.

Download Module Specification

This module builds on your experience in the core Learning and Teaching in HE module and further explores themes in assessment and feedback. We adopt a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach where you work in multi-disciplinary groups and explore PBL scenarios based on aspects of assessment and feedbackpractice  in UK HE. You will develop your own learning through peer discussion, engagement with the literature and the UK Professional Standards Framework, and through the sharing of practice and experiences. A series of face-to-face sessions will support your PBL group-work and enable a wider dialogueabout  assessment and feedback.

Flexible, Distance & Online Learning

For PGCAP participants who have already completed the core module, or available unaccredited as stand alone CPD.

Module Leader: Calum Thomson on or 0161 295 4457.

Module Tutor: Amina Helal on or 0161 295 6473.

Download Module Specification

This module is designed to provide an extensive introduction to flexible, distance and online teaching and learning, promoting critical reflection on current academic practices and creative approaches to teaching and learning. Students will study topics including digital literacies, flexible and collaborative learning and  open educational practices.

Students will engage with the module and each other through structured collaborative activities, peer and tutor support, guest lectures and reflective writing. The module is delivered online, primarily through a weekly webinar using Blackboard’s Collaborate platform. This is used to discuss teaching and  learning experience, reflect on this in the context of the module, and highlight opportunities for development. Participants also work in problem-based learning groups to explore online technologies for teaching and learning, presenting their solutions back to the class cohort.

Higher Education Academy Fellowship Scheme

We are committed to supporting the development of our colleagues to achieve the University’s strategic goals. Part of this involves helping those involved in teaching and learning to be recognised for their excellent practice on a national level. The HEA UKPSF is one way through which this is achieved.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) is the national body for enhancing learning and teaching in higher education (HE). It is owned by the Universities UK and GuildHE on behalf of the UK Higher Education sector and is funded by grants from HEFCE, SFC, HEFCW            and DELNI, as well as subscriptions from higher education institutions. It advocates evidence-based teaching methods and professional recognition for university teachers through awards fellowships. The HEA is responsible for the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for higher education practitioners.

It states its mission as 'to use our expertise and resources to support the higher education community in order to enhance the quality and impact of learning and teaching. We do this by recognising and rewarding excellent teaching, bringing together people and resources to research and share best practice, and by helping to influence, shape and implement policy'.

The UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) is a nationally-recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support. It is managed on behalf of the UK Higher Education sector by            the HEA. The UKPSF clearly outlines the Dimensions of Professional Practice within HE teaching and learning support as:

  • areas of activity undertaken by teachers and support staff.
  • core knowledge needed to carry out those activities at the appropriate level.
  • professional values that individuals performing these activities should exemplify.

The HEA invites teaching staff to apply for fellowship, an internationally-recognised 'badge of your success' demonstrating you hold the professional qualities and values of the UKPSF. Fellowship is an important indicator that you have engaged with professional development to a nationally recognised level and            / or have a proven track record of experience within the UKPSF. There are two routes through which you can apply for HEA Fellowship.

The PGCAP at University of Salford, which many staff new to teaching will undertake, is an HEA-accredited Postgraduate Certificate in teaching and learning. This means that upon completion you will be automatically awarded with HEA Fellowship status and there is no need to apply directly to the HEA. Please note,            HEA Fellowship is the only category awarded through this process. For Associate, Senior, or Principal fellowship please see the 'Experienced Route' section below.

For those with a proven track record of experience which would make them eligible for any category of HEA fellowship, a written application can be made direct to the HEA through the 'Experienced Route'. The application process consists of an Account of Professional Practice (APP), a reflective commentary on your            higher education roles, responsibilities and professional experience, along with two supporting statements from referees. Your APP must demonstrate that you meet a ‘descriptor’ of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), depending on your stage of Fellowship. Information on descriptors are            available in the 'Which level of Fellowship should you apply for?' section below.

If you wish to apply through the experienced route, please read the information below for further information on the application process.

Applying through HEA Experienced Route

Which level of Fellowship should you apply for?

The first step as a prospective applicant is to decide what category of Fellowship you wish to apply for. Your career stage and professional experience will determine your eligibility for the award of Associate Fellow (AFHEA), Fellow (FHEA), Senior Fellow (SFHEA) or Principal Fellow (PFHEA).

If you’re new to teaching or supporting student learning and want to formalise your experience and to progress, an HEA Associate Fellowship could add great value to your professional teaching experience. You’re likely to be one of the following:

  • an early-career researcher with some teaching responsibilities (e.g. PhD student, graduate training assistant, contract post-doc)
  • new to HE teaching or have a limited teaching portfolio
  • teach part-time in a demonstrator/technician role with some teaching responsibilities
  • support teaching/learning (e.g. as a learning technologist or learning resource staff member)

Key to your APP when applying for this category is that you can demonstrate successful engagement with at least two of the five areas of activity outlined in the PSF, appropriate core knowledge relating to these areas with a minimum of K1 and K2, and relevant professional values. As well as demonstrating understanding of these you should be able to give examples of practice supporting this (recommended two per          area of activity), with evidence of the impact with your practice has had. Maximum 1400 words in total for all sections.

HEA Associate Fellow guidance for applicants

If you’ve a proven, sustained track record in HE teaching and you’re seeking recognition for your development, and to progress into a senior position, an HEA Fellowship could add great value to your professional teaching experience. You’re likely to be one of the following:

  • an early-career academic
  • in a subject-specific role with substantive teaching and learning responsibilities
  • an experienced academic, relatively new to UK HE, with sometimes significant, teaching-only responsibilities; e.g. within work-based settings

Key to your APP when applying for this category is that you can demonstrate successful engagement with all five areas of activity outlined in the UKPSF, all core knowledge and all professional values. As well as demonstrating understanding of these you should be able to give examples of practice supporting this (recommended 2 per area of activity), with evidence of the impact your practice has          had. Maximum 3500 words in total for all sections.

HEA Fellow guidance for applicants

If you have a proven, sustained track record in HE teaching and management and are seeking to progress into a leadership position, an HEA Senior Fellowship could add great value to your professional teaching experience. You’ll have an established record relating to teaching and learning and management / leadership of specific          aspects of teaching provision. You are likely to lead, or be a member of, established academic teams. You may be:

  • an experienced member of academic staff with significant responsibility for leading, managing or organising programmes for subjects / disciplines
  • an experienced subject mentor or someone who supports those new to teaching
  • an experienced member of staff with departmental or wider teaching / learning support advisory responsibilities within your institution.

Key to your APP when applying for this category is that you can demonstrate successful engagement across all five areas of activity, all core knowledge and all professional values outlined in the UKPSF and successful co-ordination, support, supervision, management and/ or mentoring of others in relation to teaching and learning. For this category of application your APP consists of          a reflective commentary on your higher education roles, responsibilities and professional experience and two case studies outlining contributions you have made to learning and teaching in higher education. Maximum 7000 words in total for all sections.

HEA Senior Fellow guidance for applicants

If you have an established academic career with substantial strategic responsibilities in HE and you’re seeking to exert influence within the sector, an HEA Principal Fellowship could add great value to your professional teaching experience. You’ll have a sustained, effective record of strategic impact at          institutional, national or international level and be committed to wider strategic leadership in teaching. You might also be one, or both, of the following:

  • a highly experienced member of senior staff with wide-ranging academic or strategic leadership responsibilities in connection with key aspects of teaching and supporting learning.
  • responsible for institutional strategic leadership and policy making in the area of teaching and learning, possibly extending beyond your own institution.

Key to your APP when applying for this category is that you can demonstrate a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and academic development as a key contribution to high quality student learning. Your application requires a record of education impact capturing key areas of your practice relating to teaching and supporting learning, a reflective account of practice, and three advocates, external to Salford University but working in HE and Fellows, Senior Fellows, or Principal Fellows of          the HEA, supporting your application.

HEA Principal Fellow guidance and application template

Your Application


The University will fund any employee to submit a fellowship application to the Higher Education Authority (HEA). This process began in 2013, when the University agreed a 4 year programme of funding to support the professional recognition of both academic employees and other employees who are significantly involved in    teaching and learning activities. The University has a funding arrangement in place with the HEA and the finance team will be invoiced directly for your application. All you need to do is provide the full set of information that the HEA requests of you.


The following short video has been created to give advice on how you may wish to structure your UKPSF application.

HEA Application Writing


We offer a range of support, face to face and online, for when you are writing your application for HEA fellowship.

For Associate Fellowship and Fellowship, we offer the following services and events.

  • You can request a review of your application from an academic developer in the QEO team. Drafts are submitted by email and we are committed to providing feedback on your application within one week. To request a review and feedback please email your draft application to Calum Thomson.

  • We also offer 30 minute one to one development meetings to discuss draft versions of applications. To book a one to one development meeting please email Calum Thomson.

  • UKPSF application writing retreats are also available. This is an opportunity to set aside a morning or afternoon to write your application with advice and guidance on hand from an academic developer. Please see the upcoming academic development workshop sessions for details on the next retreat.

We are also able to provide advice on, and arrange mentorship for, Senior and Principal Fellowship applications. Please contact Sean Walton for further information on this.


To submit your application, please register and log on to MyAcademy on the HEA website and navigate to the 'My Recognition'. Here you can select the level of recognition you are applying for. You    will then be guided through the relevant sections to be completed. The application can logged out of and revisited, however we recommend drafting your application in a word processing package such as Word.

HEA Application Review

All applications for HEA Fellowships are appraised by experienced accreditors, chosen for their extensive knowledge and practice of review in teaching and learning. They include specialist educators and expert practitioners across disciplines. Applications for AFHEA and FHEA will be reviewed by two accreditors while    applications to SFHEA and PFHEA will be reviewed by three accreditors.

The appraisal and awards process can take up to 8 weeks, after which you will be informed if your application has been successful. You can track the progress of your application via 'My Recognition'. If your application includes insufficient evidence that you have met a particular level you will receive feedback and be given one chance to re-submit. If your application is ultimately unsuccessful you may reapply.

Page last updated 18/05/2015. Details correct at time of update. Information originally from