CPD for All project update – August 2019

This is the first in a series of updates designed to keep UCU members abreast of developments with the union’s CPD for All project. The over-riding aim of the project is to encourage and facilitate increased professionalism of UCU members, an aim which will be impossible to reach without your active engagement. Therefore, if you have any ideas concerning what you think the union should be doing on this front, or to discuss how you could play a part in supporting the project, please do drop us an email at cpd@ucu.org.uk.


The CPD for All project went live on 1 April 2019 when Rob Hancock was took up the post of Project Manager. The project’s aims are:

  • to push professional development issues up the bargaining agenda
  • to increase the number of CPD courses offered by UCU
  • to align those courses with the FE and HE frameworks (so that members completing our courses can use any evidence produced toward building their portfolios)
  • to build mutually beneficial relationships with ETF and Advance HE around CPD and their frameworks, in order to secure UCU’s position as the voice of professionalism in the sector
  • to make our CPD offer more member-focused, so for example we will deliver more courses in colleges and universities via branches and especially Union Learning Reps (ULRs)
  • to build the ULR cohort in order to build membership and activity.

The story so far

By the summer of 2019 a lot of effort had gone into taking stock. Informed decisions had to be made about the union’s work around CPD and union learning in order to build upon the strengths and to fill in any gaps. ULR presence was established. Course coverage was reviewed against (the English) professional frameworks. Advance HE and ETF were approached. New courses were commissioned. Some promotional resources have been produced, encouraging members to become ULRs for example, with others (highlighting the detail of the CPD programme for example) in the pipeline.

On-going and up-coming work

Courses piloting autumn 2019

New UCU CPD course Learning aims
Diversity is strength 1. Define “diversity” and discuss why it is a key concept for educators.
2. Explore UCU’s attitudes to diversity, equality of opportunity and inclusion.
3. Help participants to reflect on and improve their practice.
Assessment and feedback 1. Explore how appropriate methods of assessment and feedback relate to, and arise out of, teaching methods.
2. Consider how to design assessment and feedback processes that are transparent, appropriate, fair, and engage learners.
3. Discuss how assessment processes can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching.
4. Review how assessment processes inform quality assurance, quality enhancement and quality improvement arrangements.
New or returning to teaching? 1. Explore how learners learn
2. Explore how good teachers teach
3. Examine what impedes learning and consider creative solutions
4. Consider how you can stay inspired and inspire others.
The reflective practitioner 1. Help participants evaluate their own professional practice and assess its impact on learning.
2. Provide a framework for participants to challenge their own professional practice, values and beliefs.
3. Explore how an evidence-based approach can enhance reflective practice.
4. Consider how working collaboratively with colleagues could improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning.
Introduction to learning technologies 1. Help participants understand and use a range of education technologies
2. Consider how the use of different education technologies impacts on learners
3. Explain the benefits of using appropriate technology.
Making flipped learning work 1. Explore the range of education technologies available
2. Identify the education technology tools that are most appropriate to participants’ practice
3. Consider how flipped learning can put the joy back into teaching.

It is planned that the above courses will be piloted in October, November and December 2019. Then after any necessary amendments, they will be rolled out from January 2020. It is expected that these courses will be delivered on request by ULRs in universities and colleges, so if your branch does not have a ULR please contact the project to find out how you can rectify that situation.

Bargaining around CPD

Activities in this area over the coming months include:

  • September: online survey to ascertain the extent of bargaining activity around CPD issues; map the existence of learning committees and other fora in which bargaining may take place; collect examples of learning agreements and CPD policies, in order that the best examples can be shared widely
  • later in the autumn new guidance on negotiating around CPD will be issued
  • in the New Year guidance on establishing or re-establishing a learning committee will be issued
  • in February a follow-up survey of bargaining activity will be conducted in order to evaluate the impact of the above activities.

I hope that provides a flavour of how the project is progressing. Any feedback would be more than welcome at cpd@ucu.org.uk.

Rob Hancock
August 2019