Your toolkit

The Continuum Model of Scholarship: A Toolkit for Professional Development, Dr Dave Collins


Welcome to the Continuum Model of Scholarship Toolkit. This developmental toolkit is based on the Advance HE/HEA publication ‘The Continuum Model of Scholarship’ (Collins, 2016) and its central purpose is to encourage you to self-reflectively explore the essential links between your scholarly activity and your engagement with teaching and learning in Higher Education.

Because it is set in the context of the UK Professional Standards Framework, this toolkit can be used to act as a springboard in applying for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Building your portfolio

You can export your writing into an Excel spreadsheet or take a screenshot of it which you could then use, for example, for your own record of academic development, your appraisal documentation, or for a formal application for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

The toolkit follows the outline of the UKPSF Dimensions of the Framework with its three key sets:

  • Areas of Activity (A) with five aspects
  • Core Knowledge (K) with six aspects
  • Professional Values (V) with four aspects

You will see that each aspect of the Dimensions has been broadly aligned to either ‘teaching and learning’ or ‘scholarship’. However, there will inevitably be overlap.

Note:  Completion of this toolkit does not constitute Fellowship - the distinction between scholarly activity and teaching and learning is for the purposes of this toolkit only, and does not necessarily reflect the requirements for any formal application for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (Associate, Fellow, Senior Fellow, or Principal Fellow).

Using the Toolkit

  1. Start with a reflective narrative in each of the aspects of the Dimensions: Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge, Professional Values. Exemplars have been given which span the four levels of reach and influence. Your text will be automatically saved until you next return to it. You might want to export your notes to print out or share with a colleague or a mentor. There is no requirement to work through in any particular order. Try to avoid straightforward description – make your writing reflective.

  2. Once you feel that you have completed each section, consider where your account of your professional practice sits: if it relates to the teaching and learning drop down menu, then decide as to the locus or place where this aspect of your practice is broadly situated and has reach and influence (at programme level, departmental level, national/ international level). If the drop down menu refers to your scholarly activity, aim to reflect upon where this part of your practice has reach, influence and impact.

  3. Once you have done this, your choice will be automatically transferred to the graph which shows the two axes of scholarly activity, and teaching and learning.

  4. You'll be able to see - as you work through the toolkit - how you have positioned your practice with reference to the four categories of fellowship. There may be a clustering in one particular category. This will act as a guide only for when you make a formal application.

  5. Above all, this process should enable you to become more aware of the relationship between your scholarly activity and your teaching and learning.

Please note that you will not be able to save your data to this tool or be able to return to it at another time. We advise that you remember to take a screenshot or export your graph once you've populated it so that you have a record of it. You can then return to this page at any time and re-populate it as many times as needed. 


Useful links to help you

The Dimensions of the Framework indicate typical activities which relate to the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning, for practitioners working in a range of settings.  Those working in colleges would find the CBHE Dimensions the most useful.

Specific guidance on how to formally claim HEA Fellowship can be found here.


Associate Fellow
Senior Fellow
Principal Fellow
Continuum of Scholarly Activity: Impact
National/ International
National/ International
Continuum of Teaching and Learning: Locus of Practice

Areas of Activity

A1 : Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study

This is about what you do to plan and prepare learning activities (face to face or in a virtual learning environment). This could be at an individual level, departmental or institutional level.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Planning revision tutorials or workshops
  • Preparing for studio work or creative classes
  • Designing a new course or programme of redesign existing curricula
  • Contributing with employers to the design of new programmes of study
  • Developing resources and student support across departments, faculties etc.
  • Leading the development of departmental curriculum responsive to local and regional economies
  • Coordinating or contributing to institutional strategy relating to learning and teaching
  • Overseeing major curriculum restructures across different disciplines and academic schools
(Links with K1-4 and K6 below)

A2: Teach and/or support learning

This is about your engagement and interaction with learners, demonstrating a current and ongoing awareness of different approaches and methods of teaching and supporting learning, as well the choosing the most appropriate approach for the achievement of learning/curriculum aims.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Running seminars or tutorials with groups of students to support their learning in lectures
  • Introductory workshops for creative and/or technical skills development
  • Developing approaches for learners to demonstrate higher level critical thinking
  • Developing modules/course/workshops which enhance the employability skills for students 
  • Implement faculty initiatives to improve student satisfaction
  • Supporting and developing lecturers in their pedagogy
  • Leading on the implementation of effective learning and teaching initiatives at a national level
  • Contribute to institutional policies/frameworks for the implementation of learning technologies
(Links with K1-5 below)

A3: Assess and give feedback to learners

This is about how you assess and give feedback to learners, to foster and encourage their learning. This can include formal and informal feedback, summative or formative.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Assessing submitted student written work, annotating with formative feedback/critique to learners
  • Judging learners’ understanding during and following library induction sessions
  • Developing and applying a range of modes of assessment for the enhancement of learning
  • Supporting learners to use e-portfolio systems for self-assessment and review
  • Leading staff development activities focussing upon learning, teaching and assessment
  • Working with professional bodies to enhance interrelationships between teaching, learning and assessment in the chosen subject
  • Authoring descriptors for the assessment of teacher trainees against national teaching standards
(Links with V1, V2, V3 and K6 below)

A4: Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance

This is about how you effectively use both formal and informal learning environments to facilitate student learning, and how you meet the needs of your learners on the physical and virtual environments in which you teach or support learners.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Working with other professionals to support learners’ use of their own devices and ensure they have access to assistive technologies
  • Acknowledging the importance of, and assist in providing, appropriate learning spaces for learners with disabilities
  • Creating new approaches to use spaces in which you have to teach and/or support learners
  • Designing learning support materials to be accessible on a range of digital platforms
  • Working with senior teams to contribute to the development of faculty learning environments and spaces
  • Coordinating a whole-staff approach to utilisation of digital learning spaces
(Links with K3, K4, K5, V1 and V2 below)

A5: Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices.

This is about how you maintain and continue to develop your capability in teaching and learning support, and any associated leadership activities and roles, if relevant.

Possible examples from your practice on the continuum of scholarly activity

  • Identifying and engaging with CPD opportunities and demonstrating learning from the same
  • Applying findings from a piece of pedagogic research to enhance and inform your practice
  • Integrating your discipline knowledge with current work-based, contextualised knowledge
  • Enhancing student learning through own practice-led and/or practice-based research
  • Leading and supporting departmental staff in the enhancement of their teaching and learning through CPD
  • Undertaking a key role within a Professional Association or Professional Body
  • Undertaking strategic planning for institutional CPD 
  • Set up national partnerships for professional development within your field

Core Knowledge

K1: The subject material

This is about how the design and planning of learning activities and programmes of study, together with associated teaching, assessment and feedback strategies, is informed and influenced by the nature of the subject being taught. You are expected to demonstrate a) an awareness of scholarship, and possibly research relating to the particular subject and b) an up-to-date knowledge of the subject area.

Possible examples on the continuum of scholarly activity

  • Engagement with subject associations/professional bodies
  • Understanding how your subject area is affected through digital technologies
  • Refreshing the curriculum in light of new knowledge/research findings in the subject area
  • Leading on the development of subject resources
  • Directing staff activities and the associated development of discipline research
  • Leading departmental curriculum reviews
  • Leading/coordinating national subject discipline/pedagogy symposia
  • Implementing policies for embedding digital literacies across the institution 
(Links with A5 and V3)

K2: Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme

This is about a) your understanding and implementation of the distinctive methods used in teaching or supporting learning in your subject area, and b) how you acknowledge that some approaches are more appropriate than others given the level of the taught material and the learning stage of your students. 

Possible examples on the continuum of scholarly activity

  • Keeping up to date with current best pedagogical practice
  • Exchanges with peers: informal discussion, webinars, conferences, discussion lists
  • Delivering a workshop on the challenges and innovations in teaching your subject discipline 
  • Publishing a paper on assessment strategies in your subject discipline 
  • Leading and mentoring staff in own research informed teaching methodologies
  • Embedding new approaches to learning, teaching and assessment within T & L policies
  • Collaborating or leading on institutional e-learning strategies to enhance the scholarship of teaching and learning
(Links with A2, A3, A5 and K5)

K3: How students learn, both generally and within their subject/discipline area

This is about your understanding of the characteristics of different learners and how you meet their needs through the teaching and supporting learning approaches and the learning environment: your practices and approaches in response to the specific characteristics of the subject, and your scholarly understanding of the particular theoretical models which underpin your practice.

Possible examples on the continuum of scholarly activity

  • Helping to develop spaces, physical or virtual, to enhance student learning interactions
  • Utilising pedagogical models/frameworks in the choice of technologies to enhance collaborative learning
  • Explaining and evaluating your choice of models of learning which you apply in your teaching and for your particular subject
  • Mentoring colleagues in the use of participative learning
  • Developing and implementing a departmental curriculum focussed on meeting the workplace needs of learners
  • Leading on the implementation of an institutional learning strategy for the support of student learning
(Links with A1, A2 and V1)

K4: The use and value of appropriate learning technologies

This is about your rationale for why specific technologies are used to support learning, including assistive technologies, and your evaluation of the impact of these on learning.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Working with tutors to help develop digital resources to accommodate students’ different learning styles
  • Developing blogs to contribute to a staff/student community of practice to enhance learning
  • Identifying, critically evaluating and choosing technologies to support a particular course of study or a particular cohort of learners
  • Leading and mentoring departmental colleagues in the integration of assistive learning technologies into their curricula
  • Leading institutional strategic initiatives and/or policies on the integration of learning technologies
  • Establishing or working with others to meet the needs of learners with disabilities within the institution’s strategic responsibilities
(Links with A2, A3, A4 and K3)

K5: Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching

This is concerned with the ways you gather information about the success and effectiveness of your teaching, assessment and feedback in enabling learners to meet the intended learning outcomes.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Staying up to date with learning analytics
  • Using quantitative and qualitative learner analytics to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of teaching (e.g NSS; programme and module surveys; individual feedback; annual success data)
  • Engage in peer-observation processes as both observer and observee
  • The analysis and evaluation of, for example, faculty peer-observation, internal periodic reviews, external evaluation/review and subsequent enhancement activities
  • Leading a cross-institutional review of the effectiveness of teaching and learning to enhance student learning

K6: The implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Understanding how teaching and learning in HE is guided by both internal and external quality assurance frameworks
  • Using external national HE guidelines to direct course planning
  • Utilising QAA Subject Benchmark Statements, professional and statutory body requirements, or international equivalents to guide curriculum development and student learning expectations
  • Coordinating, supporting, mentoring/managing and leading staff in ensuring understandings of, and engagement with, quality assurance and enhancement procedures
  • Ensuring the appropriate readiness for institutional review of academic and professional practice

Professional Values

V1: Respect individual learners and diverse learning communities

This is about how you recognise, understand, consider and respond to the individual needs of students and diverse learning communities (e.g. distance learners, work-based students, non-native speakers, students with specific learning needs etc).

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Ensuring that the language used in the preparation of supporting course materials appropriately reflects the cultural identity of the student(s)
  • Designing accessible online learning materials which support learners with specific learning needs
  • Planning and designing curriculum which is responsive to non-conventional learners
  • Supporting departmental colleagues in the involvement of learners as stakeholders in the design of courses/programmes of study
  • Leading, or contributing to policies, strategies and practices that promote professional value V1

V2: Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners

This is about providing evidence of how a commitment to participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners underpins your practice in relation to teaching and supporting learning.

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Promoting learners access to open learning resources
  • Ensuring that curriculum design and planning is responsive to social, cultural and economic challenges presented by non-traditional learners
  • Designing assessment patterns to be sensitive to learner employment and other commitments
  • Working with staff to promote a culture of respect in online learning associated activities
  • Promoting access to learning for students with physical, sensory or other constraints at departmental or institutional level
  • Contributing to policies, strategies and practices (e.g. through staff development) that promote participation and equality of opportunity

V3: Use evidence informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development

This is about the use of evidence informed approaches, the ability to draw on and contribute to, a range of sources of evidence and to use them to inform teaching and learning practice. You should use the outcomes from relevant research, scholarship and professional development to support your own professional development, and enhance your teaching and the learning experience.

Possible examples on the continuum of scholarly activity

  • Considering and applying the findings from reading, seminars, conferences, own research
  • Undertaking continuing professional development initiatives linking subject scholarship and associated pedagogies
  • Supporting colleagues through initiatives to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Promoting the use of informed approaches to plan learning and support initiatives at Faculty level
  • Designing evidence-based policies and frameworks to support the scholarly activity of staff across the institution

V4: Acknowledge the wider context in which higher education operates recognising the implications for professional practice

Possible examples on the continuum of teaching and learning

  • Integrating widening participation and participation agenda in the support of teaching and learning activities
  • Being responsive to, and aware of employability issues in vocational education
  • Contributing to debates around responsibilities to support learners in a digital culture and society
  • Supporting staff in the integration of government initiatives or legislation which impacts upon teaching and learning
  • Promoting an institutional culture which supports the health and wellbeing of both staff and student