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Data: The Devil is in the Detail

Alongside re-developing the ENroute framework, we’ve had to think of new ways to store and cross check Fellowship data in line with the planned increase in the number of people who will gain Fellowship of the HEA. It’s not always the most exciting part of a project looking at figures and systems, but it’s important! And luckily we have key members of the project team whose expertise in systems makes this a much more manageable task.

First of all we thought about which system we would use to best capture the data. We already use HR Connect across the institution so it made sense that if this system could do the job for us then we would go ahead and use it. Jane Hutchison from HR worked on the brief given to create a simple but effective new data field within the “Memberships” section of HR Connect. The data inputted here would detail if there was any Fellowship held and what category. This Memberships field is currently not available to view on self-service so the access is restricted to those who have administrative access to HR Connect, but this could be changed in future if it was decided to open this information up wider.

The benefit of using HR Connect is that the system is linked to Business Objects reporting tool, which means we can run regular reports on Fellowship stats at the click of a button! We have different reports set up depending on what we want to find out. Our target of 100% of staff holding Fellowship by 2020 is currently based on salaried academic staff only – but we are still keen to know how many zero hours academics and professional services staff hold Fellowship too, so our reports lets us see the whole spectrum of Fellowship achievement.

As part of the recruitment process we now ask all applicants for details of professional memberships such as HEA Fellowship at the point of application, and this information is then uploaded to the staff record when a job offer is made. This means we have Fellowship data for all applicants whether or not they are successful, which can be used to look at patterns of Fellowship across the sector. For new staff, often the HEA still have individual’s records’ connected with their old institution – so if you are a new staff member at Edinburgh Napier who folds Fellowship gained at another institution, make sure you click here tell the HEA of your move.

We also supported staff who completed their PG Cert in Learning & Teaching at Edinburgh Napier in previous years to convert their qualification to Fellowship. Some of the staff we helped describe what it means to them

“Having missed the deadline for converting my PgCert into HEA fellowship I was worried that this would be a long complicated process. However thanks to the Academic Professional Development team this was effortless. Being a member of the HEA has given me access to quality resources which has helped develop my professional practice.”


David Pirie from the School of Life Sport and Social Sciences


“I just wanted to thank you for doing this. It’s been in my to-do list for several years. This is a good example of how the OVP (Editors note: Academic Professional Development) can help Academics in the Schools in a very real and practical way.”

Carles Ibanez from the School of management


A while back the University added a section on HR Connect for HESA details, and we use this to cross check the memberships section of HR Connect for data accuracy. If you’re reading this and you’re not sure if you’ve updated your HESA details, in particular the academic teaching qualification if you have one, then you can do that here. Similarly, if you gained Fellowship out-with the institution and think we might not know about it, make sure you tell us!

 Rachel Murray

Learning from across the sector


How did we go from wanting to redevelop ENRoute to sitting in meeting rooms (sometimes in the rain) in universities as diverse as Cumbria and Kings? Well we have learnt such a lot from first year of ENroute operation; we have gathered views from colleagues on experiences of apply for HEA fellowship through ENroute and we have a Project Team and Project Board to support the redevelopment. We were sure some of the aspirations and issues we surfaced have been solved elsewhere but how to find out?

Looking outside the university at the wider HE landscape is important element of redevelopment, we wanted to know what is the wider engagement with the UKPSF and HEA Fellowship and what can we learn from our colleagues’ experiences across the sector?

To begin this process of we started with some basic internet scoping, looking at all Fellowship schemes across the UK higher education sector. While we all know this is not an exact science we did uncover some interesting statistics. From the 146 Universities we looked at across the UK, we found many, such as Edinburgh Napier, have set targets for academic colleague engagement with the UKPSF. Approximately one third of universities have their own HEA accredited scheme to support colleagues. With a total of two thirds of universities supporting colleagues via their validated professional development courses such as Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Wishing to gain insights from others we looked closely at the internal routes to accreditation offered. We found all in house accredited schemes offered a documentary/written route toward Fellowship, with many offering an oral route through a process of presentations or professional dialogue. We learnt how they operated and what the implications might be. That learning was crystallised in a report back to the Project Board. A lengthy and interesting discussion about our own experiences coupled with the learning from across the sector gave us some clear pointers about how we should go forward.

The increased interest in the UKPSF and Fellowship across higher education is reflected in the emerging literature slowly documenting people’s thoughts and early impact on professional development. These early papers (Cannell and Gilmour2013; Law, 2011; Turner, et al. 2013) have highlighted the opportunity it presents for raising the profile of professional development in learning and teaching across HE, in addition to providing a common language to support and structure this development.

Returning home and reflecting on our exploration (all be it basic) we now have a better idea of higher education landscape, this will help inform our redevelopment and aspirations as we move forward.


Cannell, P., and Gilmour, A., (2013) Staff: enhancing teaching final project report. The Open University in Scotland. Available at,

Law, S., (2011) Recognising excellence in teaching and learning. The Higher Education Academy. Available at,

Turner, N., Oliver, M., McKenna, C., Hughes, J., Smith, H., Shrives, L., (2013) Measuring the impact of the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning (UKPSF). The Higher Education Academy. Available at,

Kathryn James, March 2015

‘Simple but rigorous’

‘What should the process of applying for Fellowship feel like?’

As part of the redevelopment process, we’ve been gathering views from across the University regarding what the experience of applying for HEA Fellowship should feel like.  On the one hand, we know that you want the process to be clear, transparent and easy to follow, with appropriate choice and flexibility to suit individual preferences and disciplinary approaches. At the same time, you want it to be meaningful and rigorous, proving a worthwhile investment of time and offering an experience that is, ultimately, affirming.

Achieving this balance of simplicity and challenge is guiding our redevelopment work and we’ll be checking every step of the way whether we are designing a process that is both easy to engage with and thought-provoking to work through. There’s no doubt that applying for professional recognition can never be ‘a breeze’. It requires confronting yourself and your practice with some fundamental questions. Why do you teach and support students in the way that you do? How do you know when you are being successful? What have you learnt so far? And how do you keep continually engaged with reflecting on and improving your practice? Making your claim for recognition is not so much about showing that you have all the answers as about demonstrating that you are committed to asking the right questions. Taking the opportunity to do so may well offer you a fresh perspective on where you are coming from and where you would like to be heading in your teaching.

Another major part of our redevelopment work will be designing a collegiate support network for ENroute so that we can guide, encourage and challenge each other in making sense of our practice and articulating our contribution to student learning. Celebrating the achievement of Fellowships will be a further part of the process!  Watch this space for further details of the redeveloped framework, and use the comments space to share your views on what you want your experience to feel like when you apply.

Contributed by Elaine Mowat, Academic Professional Development

ENroute redevelopment: the hows, the whos and the wheretofores

This post aims to explain some of the whos and hows of what is involved in the ENroute redevelopment.

The first how was a big one:

How could the University learn from the experiences of the first year of ENroute operation and from good practice in the sector to develop a framework to meet the professional recognition ambition of the University? That ambition includes the Academic Strategy KPI that that all salaried academic staff will achieve Higher Education Academy fellowship by 2020 and the desire that all other staff in relevant roles teaching and supporting learning also gain this fellowship. And just who could enable that?

The  who are the ENroute Project Team and Project Board. The Project Team was formed in September and comprises members of the Academic Professional Development, ASPEN and HR teams. The Project Team’s work is overseen by the ENroute Project Board convened by Sally Smith (Head, School of Computing). The Project Team meets on a 3 week basis and we have been very busy! We have held focus groups with applicants and potential applicants, engaged in meetings with all the Heads of School and Faculty Assistant Deans (Learning and Teaching), negotiated framework amendments with the Higher Education Academy, surveyed frameworks in the sector and taken part in a number of institutional visits to find more out about individual frameworks. We’ve also spent much worthwhile time verifying the fellowship data to uncover unrecorded fellowships – and record them, cleanse records and institute processes for future fellowships to be recorded. More information on all of these activities will be provided in future blogs. But for us, there was another important how to answer.

How could we engage colleagues in shaping and supporting the redeveloped framework?

This has been achieved through the ENroute School Representatives who have kindly taken on this role as a link between their school and the ENroute team to advise on the redevelopment and to engage their colleagues in the opportunities ahead to gain HEA fellowship. And who are the representatives? The representatives have already contributed through their participation in the ENroute away day with the project team (not very away – held at Merchiston on a very snowy December day). Our focus on that day was primarily on two more hows:

  • How can we offer review choices that meet the preferences identified by applicants and have proved to be welcomed and valued within the frameworks of our sister institutions?
  • How could we develop a system with streamlined processes within a quality framework to enable ease, clarity and transparency while coping with the anticipated number of applicants given the University’s ambition?

To find out the answer to all these and some more hows and even some whens and wheres, please look at future fortnightly blogs posted up to the launch of the redeveloped ENroute in May.

Contributed by Fiona Campbell, Academic Professional Development

So, why are we re-developing ENRoute?

Following a good deal of hard work Edinburgh Napier was accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) to award Fellowship in 2013. The first year was a learning process for us all as we came to grips with our scheme, the language of the UKPSF and our developing relationship with the Higher Education Academy. That first year brought lots of learning about our teaching practices, the UKPSF and our administrative and assessment processes. Early submitters made really useful comments and we all gained experience as we went – or supported others to go – through the application process . Alongside this the emerging Academic Strategy included the ambition for our staff to be recognised for their achievement in teaching and supporting learning. This meant our framework needed to change in anticipation of the numbers we expected to apply in future. We had to recognise what resources we had to deliver and work out how best to use them in the changing environment of Edinburgh Napier (and the wider higher education context). So there you have it really. Feedback from colleagues, changing strategic direction and potentially much larger numbers caused us to pause and think about how we could make the scheme future proof and offer support and options to suit individual preferences and disciplinary pedagogies.

So now we are well into the redevelopment phase and future blogs will focus on how the redevelopment project is working, who is on the project teams and what they are doing to investigate, agree and develop the options for us all going forward.

We’ve had to come to grips with terminology. What constitutes a major or minor revision to the provision? Could we use the language of review rather than assessment? Questions, and yet more questions. An early key question was should we wait until our three years are up and apply for re-accreditation or should we make some changes now? As the redevelopment will be a scoping project and a source of evaluation for us going into the three year re-accreditation cycle, you can see why we decided to push the start button early!

Contributed by Bridget Hanna, Academic Professional Development