Developing an Institutional Strategy and Model for Professional Learning for Education Excellence

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This session focuses on the experience and learning of leading a strategic initiative undertaken at Ulster University to re-align professional learning opportunities with institutional vision for academic excellence. The Plan for Professional Learning for Education Excellence (PPLEE) focusses on the specific needs of all staff, who have a role in learning and teaching, at all stages of their career path. Within the University five and fifty Strategic Plan there is a commitment to delivering teaching of the highest academic standing and providing an educational experience that will transform lives, develop skills, raise ambitions and prepare future leaders. The PPLEE therefore provides a framework for professional learning, development and enhancement as well as recognition, enabling staff to contribute and respond with agility to the challenges of five and fifty. To support staff in positioning themselves against current and future institutional expectations, and to prepare themselves for reward and recognition opportunities in learning and teaching, it was critical to maximise opportunities for ongoing enhancement and engagement with professional learning. We understood the need to develop staff to be adaptable to a rapidly changing HE environment – locally, through changes to institutional strategy, nationally through government education and skills agendas and more widely through the introduction of the UK Teaching Excellence Framework and the growing professionalisation of the HE L&T workforce. To achieve this we envisaged a model for professional development for education excellence that focussed on the following: •Individual excellence •Developing own excellence •Collaborative excellence •Profiling excellence These have framed our decisions regarding the scope and nature of professional learning, development and recognition opportunities provided in support of Education Excellence. Critically important for our plans is the need to be inclusive for all staff involved in the student learning experience, and, to be accessible (a challenge for a geographically distributed institution). We saw the evolution of a joined-up strategy for professional learning as being a powerful and strategic vehicle for change. We made a conscious decision to maximise the use of dialogic opportunities as a trigger for ongoing engagement with learning and teaching and the development of meaningful communities of practice and professional relationships (Roxå & Mårtensson, 2009; Wenger, 2000). Through this we have seen greater engagement with SoTL; the surfacing and further development of more hidden academic leaders; knowledge and sharing of the range of effective, and at times, innovative practice going on around the university. Roxå, T. and Mårtensson, K. (2009) Significant conversations and significant networks – exploring the backstage of the teaching arena, Studies in Higher Education, 34 (5), 547-559. Wenger, E (2000) Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems Organization. 7: 225-246
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Jun 2020
EventInternational Consortium for Educational Development - Zurich, Switzerland
Duration: 15 Jun 202018 Jun 2020


ConferenceInternational Consortium for Educational Development
Abbreviated titleICED 2020 “The Future-Ready Graduate”
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