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. Plymouth University 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.

Plymouth University's Teaching Development Framework (TDF) was accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2012 and aligns with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).

It is designed to help experienced staff develop their practice relating to teaching and student support activities. The TDF forms part of continuing professional development (CPD) and builds a case towards gaining professional recognition with the HEA. Staff can gain Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy at one of four categories: Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow.


All staff who have a responsibility for teaching and/or supporting learning, and who are employees of Plymouth University, are eligible to attend an introductory TDF workshop to find out what is required and begin writing their application. In order to build a case of 'success and effectiveness', a range of practices need to be evidenced. For this reason, applicants with more than one year but less than three years (full-time equivalent) experience in a teaching-related role within higher education can only be considered for Associate Fellowship. 

Postgraduate students who teach are required to undertake the Introduction to Teaching and Learning (ITL) course. Those who successfully complete the ITL will gain Associate Fellowship of the HEA through this route.

Early career and new academic staff (those with less than three years full-time experience in a higher education context) are required to complete Plymouth's Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) and will also gain Fellowship of the HEA through this masters level programme. 

The University's policy for teaching qualifications and recognition sets out the requirements for professional recognition. 

First steps

The first step is to attend a guidance workshop to find out about the UKPSF and the TDF process.  You will gain insight into what is expected and begin writing your application. These workshops take place on a regular basis throughout the year. 

In addition, there are several dedicated two-hour writing cafés spread across the academic year.  These are aimed at giving applicants dedicated time, space and support to advance their applications, in particular one or two of their case studies. 

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

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

To contact the TDF Team

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