About Advance HE and UKPSF

What is Advance HE?

Advance HE formed in 2018 from the merger of the three separate organisations – the Higher Education Academy, Equality Challenge Unit and Leadership Foundation for HE.

Its goal is to make higher education better for all.  It provides a range of opportunities to exchange knowledge, connect people and give recognition against a national framework.

Through collaboration with individuals, institutions and national bodies, Advance HE helps academic staff in HE to teach and lead more effectively.  It offers accreditation, fellowships, awards and professional development schemes to help academic staff support learning and aim to give students the best possible experience of higher education and the best chance for the future.

For more details, see Advance HE’s website

What is Advance HE Teaching and Learning Accreditation?

Advance HE offers a Professional Recognition route which contributes towards the professionalisation of teaching by conferring the status of Associate Fellow (AFHEA), Fellow (FHEA), Senior Fellow (SFHEA) or Principal Fellow (PFHEA) of the Higher Education Academy.  This route is based on the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).

What is the UKPSF?

The UKPSF is the UK Professional Standard Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education, launched in 2011. Full details can be found by clicking here.  There is also a summary of the Dimensions of Practice by viewing this HEA and UKPSF Summary.

There are 3 Dimensions of Practice (Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge and Professional Values) which underpin 4 Descriptors or Fellowship categories.

  • Descriptor 1 – Associate Fellow
  • Descriptor 2 – Fellow
  • Descriptor 3 – Senior Fellow
  • Descriptor 4 – Principal Fellow

While the Dimensions of Practice are shown separate in the diagram below, they should be viewed as inter-related and integrated.

The 4 available options for HEA Individual Recognition available through the Swansea Application Route are aligned to Descriptors 1-3 (Associate Fellow, Fellow and Senior Fellow) of the UKPSF (2011). Review the Routes to Fellowship page to evaluate which Descriptor is right for you at this point in your career.

How might your practice relate to the Dimensions?

Advance HE’s Accreditation Resources explains how the UKPSF applies to staff

  • in general,
  • those in learner support roles,
  • those providing HE education in Colleges,
  • in music and
  • those supporting the learning of postgraduate research students (comprehensive literature citations included).

Indicative Activities – what the UK PSF means in practice – some examples from Swansea


  1. Can you please link me to Pebbelpad. I came to the presentation last week and think this was what we were asked to do. I will probably be submitting in April or July next summer as I have only been teaching in HE for 2 1/2 years at present (I presume that teaching in FE will not count?). Many thanks,

  2. Hi Angela – you should have access now

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  7. Please could you direct me to paper no. P1516-1381 as referenced in the Promo application form.

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