Professional Development on Learning and Teaching

The staff support and development activities provided by the Professional Development team include the PGCertHE for new staff and the supported routes to HEA Fellowship for existing staff, and the digital support and leadership provided by Birmingham Digital Education.

The support for using Digital Tools in teaching and learning has, to date, been provided through the Birmingham Digital Education Learning and Teaching Gateway. This support will continue to be available through the HEFi website under the Birmingham Digital Education banner, including access to existing and new materials and user case studies to support the development of the digital skills needed to plan teaching, learning and assessment.

What is Birmingham Beacon and who is it for?

Birmingham Beacon is the framework that provides professional development opportunities for colleagues who teach and support learning, including the achievement of teaching qualifications and professional recognition through the Higher Education Academy.

Birmingham Beacon is open to all staff at the University, academic or professional services, at any stage of their career. It will be of interest to anyone looking to develop their practice in teaching and supporting learning, but will be of particular interest to staff seeking to achieve a recognised teaching qualification in higher education. There are a number of pathways open to staff: from short, non-credit bearing, facilitated workshops to a 60-credit Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. The framework also offers an internal, experience-based route to achieving Associate Fellowship, Fellowship and Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Scholarship and professional development are at the heart of Birmingham Beacon. The aim of the framework is to facilitate, promote and celebrate excellence in teaching and supporting learning and, in so doing, support the aims of the University’s Education Strategy, 2015-2020.

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

The Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE) is a 60-credit Master’s level programme for staff who teach and support learning at the University of Birmingham. The aim of the programme is to provide a comprehensive preparation for the teaching, learning and assessment aspects of your role and to relate this to wider responsibilities associated with professional practice.

Successful completion of the programme and the module assignments awards a number of recognised teaching qualifications:

Introduction to Teaching and Supporting Learning

Introduction to Teaching and Supporting Learning (ITSL) is part of the University’s PGCHE programme but it is also available as a standalone professional development opportunity for other academic and professional staff who have a student-facing element to their work. This might be, for example, research staff with occasional lecturing commitments or professional staff who work with students on a small group or one-to-one basis.

ITSL is a non-credit bearing module and can be taken solely for the purposes of CPD. However, for those interested in pursuing a teaching qualification (recognised by the Higher Education Statistics Agency), there are two options available to you:

1. Completion of an assignment, leading to the Staff and Educational Development Association’s Supporting Learning award. You will be supported through this process by a tutor and via a series of tutorials at which you will be able to get feedback on work in progress.

2. Application for Associate Fellowship or Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy via the University’s Beacon Professional Recognition Scheme. You will be able to use knowledge gained during the module, combined with discussion of your teaching experiences, to inform your application.

Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education for Postgraduates

Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE) addresses core aspects of teaching and supporting learning, which aim to underpin any subject or context specific training that is received within school settings. It consists of a series of workshops, which should cover the full range of teaching and learning support activities undertaken by postgraduate researchers.

Part One provides a general introduction to teaching, and participants must attend this course before they can progress onto the second part of the programme.  

Part Two offers a selection of courses to enable postgraduates to develop their skills in ways that relate to their individual teaching responsibilities.

Introduction to Academic Practice for Doctoral Researchers: Accredited Module

Introduction to Academic Practice for Doctoral Researchers (IAPDR) is designed to be as flexible as possible, allowing participants to tailor their studies to their own teaching responsibilities and interests. The emphasis is therefore on self-directed study, which is supported by peer- and tutor-led workshops, optional workshops and one-to-one tutorials. Participants are also required to undertake relevant courses from the ILTHE programme in order to establish a common foundation.

Successful completion of the module will lead to recognition as an Associate Fellow of the HEA.

Birmingham Beacon Reading Group

The Reading Group meets regularly to discuss texts relating to a wide range of topics on academic practice. Readings range from core texts of teaching and learning practice to philosophy of education. The Reading Group is a space away from our routine where we can explore these topics and argue, agree or disagree, but ultimately think about our work in a scholarly and evidence-based way.  The Reading Group is intended to engage and support those involved in professional development, such as the PGCert, IAP and Beacon programmes offered by our team. It is also open to anyone interested.

Birmingham Beacon Writing Group

The Writing Group is a regular opportunity to focus on writing away from distractions, in the company of others. We write for a set amount of time and have breaks for lunch and tea/coffee. We welcome colleagues from across the University, regardless of type and nature of their role. The group welcomes in particular colleagues writing on topics related to higher education. This can include, but is not limited to, writing for publication, writing up Beacon applications, EEF project applications/reports and PGCert assignments.

Birmingham Beacon Research Group

The Research Group is open to anyone (regardless of type and nature of their role) interested in researching and evaluating aspects of their academic practice and/or conducting research into any topics related to higher education. We meet regularly to offer and receive support relating to the design, implementation and writing of such studies.


HEA Global Teaching Excellence Award 2017 TEF Gold HEFi

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