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A Professional Award in Higher Education

Paul Blackmore, Academic Staff Development


The programme enables staff undertaking teaching in the University to develop and to gain credit for their expertise. It offers a framework for newly-appointed probationary staff, who may use the existing "Preparing to Teach" induction to contribute to the award and then undertake development to build on this. For established staff it may be a means of consolidating existing expertise, and of sharing ideas with colleagues. It may also provide a means of supporting a claim of excellence in teaching.

It is not intended solely for permanent academic staff, however. Others may apply, including contract researchers, provided that they are undertaking a significant amount of teaching activities, which is usually taken to mean about fifty hours, during a year.


The programme has been designed to take account of pressures on participants' time, and of the level of existing expertise. Therefore there is a limited attendance requirement, and credit may be given for prior learning.

Format of the award

Four modules, offered on a number of Wednesday afternoons from October 1997 until June 1998 lead to a Certificate in Post-Compulsory Education:

  • Preparing to Teach
  • Assessing and Evaluating
  • Curriculum Design
  • Lecturing in Practice

The first three are group-based, each involving twenty hours of contact and an assessed project, which is likely to be directly work-related. Lecturing in Practice requires no attendance, and involves the recording of a period of teaching, reflection upon it and the observation of teaching.

There is the possibility of continuing, largely through independent study with tutorial support, to a Diploma or a full Master's award in Post-Compulsory Education.


Tutors are drawn from all Faculties in the University. Inaddition, each participant is asked to nominate a mentor from within his or her department.


All costs at the Certificate stage are met through Academic Staff Development funding. There is no cost to the department or to the individual.

WTC website

A message from the Vice-Chancellor

 In this country we are very good at producing researchers, who very often make good teachers too, communicating an all-important enthusiasm for their subject. However, good teaching is more than enthusiasm, and it is increasingly recognised that a thorough preparation for teaching can be immensely valuable for university staff.

This award should be of interest not only to newly-appointed academic staff, but also to established ones. Completion of the award would be a very useful means of developing and demonstrating excellence in teaching, for those who seek advancement partly through this route. It may also be of interest to post-doctoral students, providing future academics with a sound start in developing their teaching skills, and equipping them in an increasingly competitive employment market. It is vitally important that Warwick continues to achieve excellence in both teaching and research. The introduction of this award will assist us in this, and sends a clear signal that this University values both activities equally. I am therefore delighted to support this initiative.

A message from the Chair of Academic Staff Development and Appraisal Committee

I am delighted to support the launch of this exciting initiative at Warwick. It provides another means of ensuring that we continue our tradition of excellence in research and teaching. The programme brings together staff from the whole university whilst recognising the different traditions and developments in individual disciplines. It will result in a programme that develops good practice in the context of offering a qualification for those who work with higher education students.

Paul Blackmore
Academic Staff Development, University of Warwick

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