Human Resources

Professional development for newly appointed academic staff

University Contractual Requirements

The standard University contract of employment for newly appointed academic staff includes the following professional development requirement:

The first 12 months of your employment will be a probationary period during which your suitability for the position to which you have been appointed will be assessed. The University of Portsmouth reserves the right to extend your probationary period, if, in its opinion, circumstances so require.

Evidence of meeting the UK Professional Standards is a condition of employment and is normally achieved through successful completion of an appropriate University of Portsmouth learning and teaching programme as agreed with your Head of Department and the HR department before the end of the probationary period. During your probationary period, your employment may be terminated by the University of Portsmouth on giving a written notice of one month.

UK Professional Standards

The UK Professional Standards for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education [] is a set of Standards for the HE sector. These were originally developed in response to the Government White Paper, ‘The Future of Higher Education’ (2003), by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) on behalf of the sector, with support from UUK, HEFCE and the then Government Dept responsible for HE. The standards were updated in 2011. Successful achievement of one of the descriptors within the Standards Framework brings with is membership of the Higher Education Academy at a level commensurate with the descriptor achieved (see the table below).


HEA Fellowship category

Target group


Associate Fellow

Staff who support learning

Teaching staff with limited portfolios



Early career teaching staff

Teaching staff without significant academic leadership responsibilities


Senior Fellow

Experienced teaching staff who can demonstrate impact & influence through academic leadership &/or mentoring


Principal Fellow

Senior academic staff responsible for institutional leadershi


Most academic staff new to Portsmouth will be expected to already have or achieve Descriptor 2 within their probationary year. In order to achieve this Descriptor, staff must engage with the following 5 broad Areas of Activity:

  1. Design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study
  2. Teach and/or support student learning
  3. Assess to and give feedback to learners
  4. Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
  5. Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices

Exceptionally it may be more appropriate for academic staff new to Portsmouth to achieve Descriptor 1 or even Descriptor 3 within their probationary year.

University supported routes to the Professional Standards

The University supports two routes to Descriptor 2 of the Professional Standards Framework and HE Academy Fellowship. One route is aimed at staff new to teaching and the other is aimed at staff with greater than two years experience. Your Head of Department will discuss and agree with you which route you should follow before you join the University.

Both routes are run by the Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE) and more details can be obtained by contacting

Guidance for Heads of Department

A discussion about which Descriptor academic staff new to Portsmouth should achieve within their probationary year will take place at interview or when the post is offered. HR and DCQE will provide information for Heads of Department and support them as necessary in making this decision.

Time Allowance
In 2009 Directorate agreed that new staff should receive a time allowance of around 10% or one half-day per week adjustment to their normal workload to complete the range of learning and teaching programmes. Heads are asked to ensure that this allowance is made when allocating workload

Guidance for newly appointed academic staff

If you are already a Fellow of the HE Academy please bring the original Fellowship Certificate to your interview.