Promoting teaching: the exemplars of excellence in student education

School of Engineering

In September 2013 the University published a set of concrete and evidence based exemplars of excellence in student education. These exemplars are designed to provide guidance to colleagues applying for promotion on how they can evidence their individual achievements in teaching and learning. They are also intended to support those colleagues involved in evaluating promotions and reward cases in recognising employee contributions which are of direct and measurable benefit to student education.

Nominations for academic promotions are based upon on at least two, if not all three, areas of the academic role: Research, Student Education and Leadership & Management. The exemplar of excellence in student education are intended to inform all nominations for academic promotion, not just those of colleagues focusing principally on student education.

The exemplars set out four areas of activity/achievement and provide examples of internal and external evidence:

  • Direct Contribution (“front of house” teaching/student support)
  • Leadership in Student Education
  • Dissemination of Excellence in Student Education (i.e. Publication)
  • External Esteem and Recognition

These exemplars are already starting to have an impact in the University’s academic promotions processes. Professor Helen Bond, promoted to a Personal Chair in Christian Origins thought the 2015 Central Academic Promotions process, fed back that:

“The (academic promotions) process isn’t as mysterious as it used to be. There is a lot of guidance available such as the Exemplars of Excellence documents which help you think beyond what immediately comes to mind and encourages you to think about what you have achieved and how to evidence it.”

“It is heartening to see colleagues engaging with the Exemplars of Excellence in Student Education and using them effectively to exemplify achievements in teaching in support of promotions applications.” Zoe Lewandowski, Director of Human Resources and member of Central Academic Promotions Committee,” I hope that the newly developed Exemplars of Excellence in Knowledge Exchange and the Guidance on Interdisciplinary working will prove equally useful and that we will see similar levels of engagement”.

The Exemplars of Excellence in Student Education are also having an impact outside of the University of Edinburgh. The Royal Academy of Engineering are currently running an international project reviewing the assessment and reward of teaching achievement for academic engineers. Through this project the University’s Exemplars approach has been identified as an example of good practice and will be used as a case study in a Royal Academy’s report to be published later this year. Professor Alan Murray (Chair of Neural Electronics and Assistant Principal Academic Support), who lead the development of the Exemplar of Excellence in Student Education, and Martyn Peggie (Deputy Director of Human Resources – Reward, Systems, Business Information and Resourcing) have recently been invited to participate in this Royal Academy project.

Next steps you can take:

Consult the Exemplars of Excellence document.

Read more on the Royal Academy of Engineering report “Does teaching advance your academic career?

Look through the procedures and guidance provided by HR on promotions.

Martyn Peggie

Martyn Peggie is a Deputy Director of Human Resources at the University of Edinburgh with responsibility for Reward, HR Systems, HR Information and Resourcing. Martyn joined the University as Senior HR Partner – Reward and Systems in 2014 and prior to that worked in the University of Stirling.

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