What is the UKPSF?

The UKPSF provides professional recognition for staff across four categories of Fellowship, called ‘Descriptors’.  These are a set of statements outlining the key characteristics of someone performing four broad categories of typical teaching and learning support roles within Higher Education.

C@N-DO is aligned to the UKPSF and provides a route to nationally recognised professional standing as:

  • Associate Fellow of the HEA (D1)
  • Fellow of the HEA (D2)
  • Senior Fellow of the HEA (D3)

Applications for Principal Fellow (D4) should be made directly to the HEA.

The Descriptors are discussed in relation to three sets of ‘Dimensions’:

  • Areas of Activity – the things you do in your professional work in teaching and supporting learning
  • Core Knowledge – the knowledge and understanding you use and apply in carrying out those areas of activity
  • Professional Values – the values you hold which underpin the way you carry out those areas of activity
Areas of activity
Core knowledge
Professional values

A1 Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study.

A2 Teach and/or support learning.

A3 Assess and give feedback to learners.

A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance.

A5 Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices.

K1 The subject material.

K2 Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme.

K3 How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s).

K4 The use and value of appropriate learning technologies.

K5 Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching.

K6 The implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching.

V1 Respect individual learners and diverse learning communities.

V2 Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners.

V3 Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development.

V4 Acknowledge the wider context in which higher education operates, recognising the implications for professional practice.


For more information about professional recognition and the UKPSF, please visit the HEA websites below:

To gain professional recognition individuals must provide evidence of successful engagement with these Dimensions and demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the relevant Descriptor within their own Learning and Teaching practice.

Central to C@N-DO are assessment tasks that enable staff to provide evidence of these requirements in ways that align with University of Northampton priorities and address the challenges and enhancement imperatives facing staff in this University.

What’s in it for me?

The UKPSF is valuable to individuals because it offers:

  • national recognition of your commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning associated with higher education
  • demonstration that your practice is aligned with the UKPSF
  • an indicator of professional identity for higher education practitioners, including the entitlement to use post-nominal letters
  • a portable asset, that has UK-wide relevance and which is increasingly recognized by higher and further education institutions nationally and internationally