Teaching Development Framework (TDF)

Introduction to the scheme

In an increasingly competitive Higher Education sector, teaching capabilities and qualifications are becoming as important as research profiles and outputs. 

The University of Plymouth takes teaching quality and enhancement very seriously. All staff are encouraged to develop their professionalism and gain nationally-recognised qualifications and/or recognition appropriate to their level of experience and expertise.

The University's Teaching Development Framework (TDF) was accredited by Advance HE in 2012 and aligns with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). 

It is designed to help experienced staff gain recognition for their achievements in teaching and/or supporting learning within a Higher Education context. The TDF is linked to the University’s wider continuing professional development (CPD) portfolio. 

Staff can gain Fellowship of Advance HE at one of three categories: Associate Fellow, Fellow, or Senior Fellow .


The TDF scheme is accessible to staff who have a responsibility for teaching and/or supporting learning in a Higher Education context. Participants must have a formal contract of employment with the University.

For recently appointed staff, whose contracts specify the TDF route, the University's policy for teaching qualifications and recognition sets out relevant requirements. In summary, early career and new academic staff with at least three years’ full-time experience of working in a higher education context can access the TDF scheme. 

Colleagues with less experience are required to complete the Introduction to Teaching and Learning (ITL) module to gain Associate Fellowship through this Masters level taught provision.

Longer-serving staff may access the TDF scheme provided they can demonstrate sufficient experience of working in a higher education context (equivalent of at least one year full-time for Associate Fellowship; equivalent of at least three years’ full-time for all other categories).  

First steps

We recommend that you view the Fellowship Category Tool designed by AdvanceHE to identify the appropriate level of Fellowship. The next step would be to contact the ED team to take your application forward. The TDF scheme is not currently taking any new applications until Sept 2020.

You will gain insight into what is expected and begin writing your application. These workshops take place on a regular basis throughout the year. 

For dates and to book a place, have a look at our list of workshops

As detailed at the guidance workshop, feedback on one substantive draft application is also available from the TDF team, in order to facilitate the application process.

For any further information, please see our contact details below.

Dr John Eales and Professor Debby Cotton

Advance HE awards 10,000th Senior Fellowship to Plymouth academic

Dr John Eales has taught thousands of students across five faculties since joining the University in 1990.

Reflecting on his achievement John said:

“This process has given me the opportunity to reflect on my whole career, and to assess how I can improve my current and future teaching. The support I have received during the process has helped me to appreciate that I have made a positive difference to people and that is very gratifying. A lot of colleagues in my area might be put off applying for a fellowship, believing that they exist for those doing lots of trendy pedagogical activities, but in reality it is about being reflective and having a genuine commitment to giving students a quality experience.”

Read the full article 

To contact the TDF Team

Teaching Development Framework, First Floor, 3 Endsleigh Place, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA