Finding the I: ‘Doing a Good Job Well – Being Recognised as an Experienced, Professional Teacher in HE’: A SEDA Special

The UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) was launched in 2011 to articulate expectations of those who teach or support learning in higher education. Since publication is has become the benchmark against which many institutional and sector-wide schemes of teaching recognition are measured. The SEDA Special ‘Doing a Good Job Well – Being Recognised as an Experienced, Professional Teacher in HE’ investigates how to engage with the UKPSF. Through five chapters it examines different aspects, with a particular focus on how to make the case for ‘Descriptor 3’.

There is a common thread that runs through all of the chapters: what does it mean for an individual educator to demonstrate impact with colleagues? This is the single most significant thing that distinguishes Descriptor 2 and Descriptor 3. At Descriptor 2, individuals need to demonstrate engagement with all of the areas of activity, knowledge and values within the UKPSF. At Descriptor 3, individuals need to do all this and more. To put it simply, Descriptor 2 is about demonstrating impact with students, Descriptor 3 is about demonstrating impact with students and peers.

Making a case for Descriptor 3, however, presents particular challenges for those of us who work collaboratively. As Sally Brown states in the opening chapter ‘you are likely to want to acknowledge group effort’. This might make us valuable colleagues but it certainly doesn’t help in building a case for a unique contribution to a collective endeavour, nor in isolating the distinctive impact of our individual efforts. This can make it difficult to know where to start.

Happily, this SEDA Special is on hand to help. Through chapters on scholarship, leadership, evidence and continual professional development it leads you through the reflection, planning and writing processes required. In doing so, it provides both conceptual framing devices and a series of tips, tricks and tools to make the whole process as painless as possible. This includes valuable discussions on a range of timely topics such as spheres of influence, models of agency, and measuring impact.

Throughout, it reminds us of the importance in shaping a narrative for our roles that is informed by our fundamental principles and practices. If the act of demonstrating success against Descriptor 3 of the UKPSF has any meaning beyond certification, it is this. As Ruth Pilkington states in the chapter on leadership, we ‘get things done’. Reflecting on why we get it done, how we get it done, and who benefits from it getting done may be the most important part of the process. As such, perhaps the greatest recognition that we can receive is from ourselves.


Chris Mitchell Deputy Director of Academic Development, Royal College of Art

Buy the Doing a Good Job Well SEDA Special edited by Jackie Potter & Rebecca Turner

Book Now! for the Building your Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) Profile webinar (based on this Special) with Jane Pritchard & Jackie Potter; Thursday 25 November 2021 12:00 – 14:00, price includes a copy of the SEDA Special.

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