Professional Standards Framework

BCU's Professional Standards Framework (PSF)

Birmingham City University's Professional Standards Framework (PSF) is accredited by AdvanceHE (previously HEA) and is part of our Continuous Professional Development (CPD) scheme designed to support colleagues across the University, in gaining their UKPSF Fellowship recognition.

Some of our certificated routes are validated such that they automatically offer Fellowship recognition, on successful completion. If you are eligible for certificated study, such as through the Academic Professional Apprenticeship or our Preparing Postgraduate Researchers to Teach (SEDA) course, you will be advised of this when you register to study.

AdvancedHE and Higher Education Academy Logo

Fellowship recognition is becoming increasingly important across the HE sector and being awarded this recognition of your professional practice provides the following benefits:

  • Entitlement to use nationally and internationally post-nominal letters (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA PFHEA)
  • Evidence of a commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience
  • Confirmation of a commitment to personal, professional and career development.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to all Birmingham City University staff or students who teach or support learning; this includes academic staff, postgraduates, technicians, lecturers, support staff and student project officers. You may apply for the Fellowship category that best matches your experience, role aspirations.

Our PSF has both an experiential route and a certificated route to gaining Fellowship.

The certificated route

Some of our certificated routes are validated such that they automatically offer Fellowship recognition, on successful completion. If you are eligible for certificated study, such as through the Academic Professional Apprenticeship or our Preparing Postgraduate Researchers to Teach (SEDA) course, you will be advised of this when you register to study. If you completed one of these courses, or similar, at another institution, but are unsure if you have recognition, you should contact the provider to ask if their course was accredited, or contact AdvanceHE for advice.

The experiential route

You can submit a reflective commentary on your professional practice of teaching and/or supporting learners in Higher Education. The specific content will depend on your role and the length of reflection determined by the category of Fellowship you are applying for. This site explains these Fellowship categories, provides links to the relevant resources and sets out information on the BCU scheme – the process, methods documentation - to support you in your application.

What are the Fellowship categories?

HEA Fellowship is through different categories, with UKPSF Descriptors defining the various types of practice and professional experience appropriate for each category.

You will aim to gain a Fellowship at one of the four Descriptors (D1- D4); additionally, we offer an internal-only award, specifically for BCU students (DS).

In deciding which category to apply for, you will need to determine which of the Descriptors is most appropriate to your practice and professional experience at this stage in your career.

The Descriptor, Category of recognition title and associated post-nominal letters are:

Descriptor

Category of recognition

Post-nominal letters

DS

BCU Student Fellow

 

D1

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

AFHEA

D2

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

FHEA

D3

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

SFHEA

D4

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

PFHEA

AdvanceHE a clear overview of Descriptors D1-D4 here

Note for D4: applications for the category of PFHEA are not accredited on the BCU PSF Framework – an application is made directly A full guidance and application pack for PFs is available for download from the site under the Fellowship menu. BCU can meet the application cost of the application; please contact us at psf@bcu.ac.uk before you apply for D4, to avoid being charged the fee directly. 

What do I do now?

Carry out some research use the Fellowship Category Tool to help decide on the most appropriate category to apply for. If you’re still unsure, perhaps your line manager could advise, as your decision may also depend on whether you need to gain Fellowship shortly, or aim to work towards a specific category over the coming academic year(s).

Your Faculty Lead (Fellowship) could also advise you on this. The Leads are:

  • Faculty of Arts, Design Media - Mel Moore
  • Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences - Thomas
  • Faculty of Computing, Engineering the Built Environment - Paul Laycock
  • Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences - Phil Shelton

Ready to find out more?

On provide an overview of the processes and documents for the experiential route, as well as setting out the guidance and support that’s available.

I think I already have Fellowship…

Our records are drawn from Advance HE’s database of Fellows and used for our HESA returns. If you have previously completed study which also awarded Fellowship or if you gained recognition at another institution, do check that your MyAcademy account on Advance HE has been updated to state BCU as your current employer.

If you have a query on previously awarded recognition or can’t remember your login details for MyAcademy, you can contact Advance HE at Fellowship@advance-he.ac.uk or on 01904 717 530.