About the framework

This website presents a framework for the evaluation of teaching achievement during academic appointment, promotion and professional development: the Career Framework for University Teaching. It is designed for application across all university disciplines for all academics whose role involves any teaching.

The first draft of the framework was published by the Royal Academy of Engineering in February 2016 as part of an ongoing programme of research into the evaluation of teaching achievement in higher education. Working with a consortium of university partners from across the world, the next phase of the work is to evaluate how well the framework operates in practice.
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Published: February 2016

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Published: April 2016

The framework has been developed to improve the recognition of teaching and learning in higher education through proposing a standardised and transparent method for evaluating and evidencing teaching achievement.
Release of the draft framework marks the mid-point of a study focused on the evaluation of university teaching achievement. It builds upon previous research on the barriers to rewarding university teaching.
Commissioned by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the work was authored by an independent consultant, Ruth Graham, and guided by a range of expert contributors from across the university sector.
Frequently asked questions
Outlined below are a number of points that should be noted about the framework’s design.
  • Who should be using the framework?
    The framework is designed for all university academics with any responsibility for teaching and learning, ranging from those whose career progression will be based predominantly on their educational achievements to those for whom teaching will play a much less significant role in their case for career advancement.
    Academic roles typically comprise a range of elements: teaching, research and other professional activities, such as administration or technology transfer.
    The balance between each of these activities varies considerably between individuals. For example, one academic may focus predominantly on teaching and learning (as illustrated by profile A in the figure opposite), while another may give priority to research with only a minimum of teaching duties (profile C in the figure), and another may achieve a balance of time between teaching and research (profile B in the figure).
    What these individuals share is some level of responsibility for teaching and learning, and this activity – like all others in an academic’s portfolio – should develop and strengthen as the academic progresses through their careers.

    The framework is designed to guide and support (i) continuing improvement in the quality and impact of an academic’s contribution to teaching and learning, and (ii) the demonstration and evaluation of their achievements in teaching and learning during appointment, appraisal and promotion. It applies to all academics with any responsibility for teaching and learning, ranging from those whose career progression will be based predominantly on their educational achievements (profile A in the figure above) to those for whom teaching will play a much less significant role in their case for career advancement (profile C in the figure above).

    The framework is designed for use in conjunction with evidence of achievement in other domains of the academic role, such as research or technology transfer.
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  • Is the framework applicable across all institutions and disciplines?
    Yes – the framework has been designed for application across all disciplinary, institutional and geographic contexts.

    Although some of the research underpinning the framework’s design has been sourced from the engineering academic community, evidence from other studies (Cashmore et al., 2013; Ramsden and Martin, 1996; Fairweather, 2008; Norton et al., 2013; Fung and Gordon, 2016; Academy of Medical Sciences, 2010; HEA, 2013) suggests that these concerns and issues are equally shared by the wider academic community. The creation of a cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional tool is intended to allow academics’ teaching achievements to be ‘portable’ – to be recognised across institutions and countries.
    Cashmore AM, Cane C and Cane R (2013) “Rebalancing promotion in the HE sector:  Is teaching excellence being rewarded?” The Higher Education Academy, York. [link]

    Ramsden, P and Martin, E (1996). Recognition of good university teaching: Policies from an Australian study. Studies in Higher Education, 21(3), 299–315. [link]

    Fairweather, J (2008). Linking evidence and promising practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate education. Status report for the National Academies National Research Council Board of Science Education. [link]

    Norton, A, Sonnemann, J, and Cherastidtham, I (2013). Taking university teaching seriously. Grattan Institute. [link]

    Fung & Gordon (2016). Rewarding Educators and Education Leaders in Research- Intensive Universities. The Higher Education Academy, York. [link]

    Academy of Medical Sciences (2014). Improving the status and valuation of teaching in the careers of UK academics. Academy of Medical Sciences. London. [link]

    Higher Education Academy (2013). Promoting Teaching: Making evidence count. Higher Education Academy, York. [link]
    Show references
  • What does the term ‘teaching achievement’ mean?
    The term ‘teaching achievement’ has been used throughout the framework to denote an individual’s contribution, quality and impact in teaching and learning. On the basis of the feedback received, this term appeared to be both acceptable to the academic community and the teaching and learning research community. It should be noted that the term ‘teaching achievement’ has been used to cover all educational activity, and not simply lecturing. It therefore includes contributions to educational research, as well as impact on the quality of teaching and learning at an institutional, national and/or global level.
  • When will the final report on the study be published?
    The full study report will be released by the Royal Academy of Engineering in mid 2017. In addition to the finalised framework (updated on the basis of feedback from the community and university partners), this report will present the research that underpinned its development, including case studies of best practice from across the world and outcomes of a benchmarking study comparing the different approaches taken by the world’s top-ranked universities to evaluate teaching achievement during academic promotion. This web-tool focuses only on the framework itself.
Banner images on home page provided by (from left to right): Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, University of Auckland, MIT-Gordon Engineering Program, University of Twente, University of Technology and Engineering (Peru), University of Twente, MIT-Gordon Engineering Program