Academic Promotions – Educational Research

The College is launching a new promotions framework for staff whose primary focus is teaching. It is designed to recognise achievements in the delivery of the College’s educational mission, for example innovating curricula and pedagogy, educational scholarship, and educational research and evaluation. It also recognises those that have taken up national and international leadership roles which support the College’s mission to excel and to lead in the field of Higher Education.

What has changed?

We’ve put in place a revised career structure which allows for two distinct career pathways for learning and teaching staff:

  • A practitioner pathway enabling educational practitioners to access promotion based on their contribution and impact
  • An educational research pathway for staff focussed on scholarly activity and research within higher education, as opposed to research within their own subject discipline
Diagram showing the Learning and Teaching Job Family Structure
[Top row of diagram] The Practitioner Pathway progresses from Assistant Teaching Fellow to Teaching Fellow to Senior Teaching Fellow to Principal Teaching Fellow to Level 6.
[Bottom row of diagram] The Educational Research Pathway follows the same career route as the Practitioner Pathway until the level of Senior Teaching Fellow, at which point colleagues may choose to progress to Associate Professor in Education and Professor of Education thereon.

A new pathway

The new career pathway for staff focussed on educational research, leading to Professor of Education, is now live. New job titles also include Associate Professor of Education and Reader in Education. Titles are conferred to reflect disciplinary context, e.g. Professor of Engineering Education, Associate Professor of Digital Education, Reader in Higher Education etc.

Staff currently within the Learning and Teaching job family and the Academic and Research job family may apply for promotion via this pathway. Staff should also be aware that research responsibilities will be included in their contract, and they will therefore be considered as ‘research active’ for REF.

Who decides?

The Promotions Committee will include the Assistant Provost (Learning and Teaching) and the Director of Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship, in addition to the Vice-Provost (Education).

What are the criteria?

Staff will be expected to have influence and impact at Faculty/College Level, be making a significant contribution to the delivery of the Learning and Teaching Strategy, and be increasingly involved in educational research and scholarship. They should also be contributing to the field of pedagogy and enhancing day-to-day practice.

What is considered ‘educational research’?

The College anticipates that most educational research will fall into the following four categories:

Practice – reporting aspects of pedagogic practice. Written by practitioners, for practitioners; case-study type approach; local context.

Research – reporting pedagogic research studies, presenting empirical data. Related to practice of authors or others, but focus is presenting data and conclusions; used as evidence.

Theoretical – range of evidence to present, clarify or critique pedagogic theory or theoretical frameworks. Written by academic theorists.

Policy – presenting vision of ‘best practice’, using evidence. Written by government, professional bodies, senior practitioners etc.
The educational research output is expected to be of the highest quality, in line with expectations from other disciplinary areas represented within the College.

It will take time for colleagues, and the College in general, to develop expertise to this level.  In this context, it is important to recognise that there may be other markers of quality, and different approaches to establishing a ‘profile’ and evidencing ‘impact’, which may not be typical in other disciplinary areas.

How can I find out more?

Further guidance is available in Appendix 5 – Criteria for Promotion for Senior Learning and Teaching Staff

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