Professional activities

A description of the candidate’s professional activities in teaching and learning, providing insight into the nature, volume and range of contributions made, as well as their particular areas of interest and/or expertise

Outlined below are examples of professional activities that could be described in an appointment/ promotion case, for each of the framework levels. Broadly speaking, professional activities at the effective and skilled and collegial teacher levels typically provide evidence of the nature and scale of the candidate’s teaching responsibilities as well as their pedagogical training history. With progression beyond these levels, professional activities can also provide evidence of a candidate’s broader educational influence and esteem.

Effective teacher

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At the effective teacher level, the description of professional activities helps to characterise the nature and scale of the candidate’s teaching responsibilities in areas such as student recruitment, extra-curricular activities or course design. It also provides contextual information about the candidate’s pedagogical training, as well as their educational interests and contributions outside of their school.
Examples of professional activities:
  • Details of courses taught (number of courses, student numbers, nature of teaching, assessment methods etc.)
  • Samples of course materials (syllabus, learning outcomes, assessment protocols, assignments, videos of in-class activities etc.)
  • Details of student support and guidance provided
  • Details of involvement with non-curricular student support activities, such as tutoring or providing support for extra-curricular activities
  • Details of pedagogical training/certification and in-service professional development
  • Participation in departmental teaching and learning committees or groups
  • Construction of a teaching portfolio
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Case study
Dr Gregory Offer, Imperial College London
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Building upon his experience as a Research Fellow and six years of post-doctoral study, Dr Gregory Offer was successfully appointed to a lectureship at Imperial College London in 2013. Although his application was primarily focused on his research achievements in the field of electrochemical devices, Dr Offer also included evidence of his educational achievements by providing a description of his teaching and learning activities.

Dr Offer’s application included details of his teaching and student supervision responsibilities to date. It also provided a description of a multi-disciplinary student project that he co-established and had been co-leading for seven years. Imperial Racing Green (IRG) is a curricular project that challenges students to “design, build and race zero emission or low carbon racing cars”, involving around 100 undergraduates each year from across the School of Engineering.

Within his promotion case, Dr Offer described his role in both initiating and leading this innovative teaching project, including “helping manage the day-to-day running of the project with the students, setting up effective student and academic management structures to engage academics from multiple departments in the faculty of engineering, obtaining funding from both internal and external sources, and supervising a number of students in both the technical and management aspects of their projects”. Following his appointment, Dr Offer noted the important role played by IRG in raising his profile within the department and helping to distinguish his appointment case.

Skilled and collegial teacher

In addition to the types of activities expected of the effective teacher, the professional activities of a skilled and collegial teacher would also characterise their contribution to supporting a culture of teaching excellence within and beyond their school.

Examples of professional activities:
  • Mentoring or peer-coaching of teaching colleagues
  • The role played in leading the design/delivery of an extra-curricular or an outreach activity
  • Participation in programmes of educational reform, innovation and/or development
  • Membership of institutional education committee
  • External examination responsibilities at peer institutions
  • Course management and quality assurance responsibilities
  • Participation in teaching and learning events/conferences within and/or beyond their school or discipline
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Institutional leader

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In addition to the types of activities expected of the skilled and collegial teacher, candidates would describe professional activities that demonstrate a strategic role in nurturing an environment for excellence in teaching and learning within their institution, as well as activities and roles that reflect their status and influence beyond the institution.
Examples of professional activities:
  • Leadership role in systemic programme of curricular change or the development and delivery of innovative learning tools (such as through e-learning), at a departmental, school or institutional level
  • Leadership role in institutional policy development in teaching and learning
  • Leadership role in delivering new programmes of student mentorship and support
  • Leadership role in enhancing professional development programmes in teaching and learning
  • Leadership in institutional QA, accreditation or teaching and learning strategy
  • Invitations to conduct teaching and learning reviews at peer institutions
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Case study
Professor Hanne Jarmer, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
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Associate Professor Hanne Jarmer was appointed to Head of the Department of Systems Biology at DTU in 2014.  She brought a research background in advanced bioinformatics and a history of systemic educational reform and leadership in teaching and learning at both departmental and institutional levels. 

Within her case for appointment to Department Head, Dr Jarmer listed a number of her professional activities in teaching and learning, including her teaching responsibilities and activities as Head of Education for her department.  However, she acknowledged that the educational activity likely to have had the most profoundly positive impact on her promotion case was her leadership role in “bringing the coursera [online learning] platform to DTU – I went above the department.  I wore the DTU hat rather than only the Systems Biology hat.  It was something that benefitted the whole university. I contacted the coursera founders and argued for the value of DTU on the platform and they invited us in”.  Dr Jarmer’s case listed her role in establishing the university’s coursera agreement, making way for the first coursera course in Scandinavia, as well as in supporting its delivery and joining the coursera–DTU steering committee.

Scholarly teacher

In addition to the types of activities expected of the skilled and collegial teacher, the candidate’s professional activities would describe their contributions to building knowledge in teaching and learning beyond their institution, demonstrating esteem, influence and/or particular interests or skills.

Examples of professional activities:
  • Active use of 'action research' methods in their teaching practices
  • Reviewer of scientific papers and articles about teaching and learning within and/or beyond own discipline
  • Active member of teaching and learning research group
  • Invited speaker at key teaching and learning events
  • Holding an educational leadership position within a professional body
  • Visiting/honorary positions held at other institutions
  • Acting as a member of the editorial board of a disciplinary-based education journal
  • Organising conferences/workshops in teaching and learning
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National and global leader in teaching and learning

In addition to the types of professional activities expected of the scholarly teacher and/or the institutional leader in teaching and learning, the candidate would provide details of activities and roles that imply national and/or international influence and status.

Examples of professional activities:
  • Participation in government consultations/select committees
  • External roles held supporting QA processes at other universities or national bodies
  • Editorship of an educational journal
  • Invited speaker at national/global events in teaching and learning
  • Participation in and leadership of high-impact national and global educational programmes
  • The role played in reviewing major multi-institutional collaborations in university teaching and learning
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Career Framework for University Teaching, 2020