Students Staff
University of Essex

June 25, 2015

Recognition for Professional Services staff

Have you thought about gaining Higher Education Academy recognition for your Education support work?Karen-Bush-CADENZA

When we in Learning and Development ask this question to Professional Services colleagues, invariably the answer is ‘No?’

No, that’s not a typo – the question mark is almost always there, revealing both a common assumption amongst Professional Services staff that HEA recognition is not for them and an underlying interest what the process might entail and how they might benefit from engaging.

Read on to find out how you could gain recognition for your contributions to education support.

Don’t be afraid!

At a recent ‘Celebrating Excellence’ event for Professional Services, the CADENZA team from Learning and Development had the chance to talk directly to our colleagues about HEA recognition. We were again struck by colleagues’ wariness about CADENZA, but we were also impressed by their curiosity to find out more. Even brief discussions about what colleagues’ roles and responsibilities involved –  in terms of supporting the University’s Education Strategy, key  contributions to enhancing the living and learning environment at Essex, active commitment to equality, diversity and professional development, and so forth –  revealed a wealth of expertise and experience across the Professional Services sections that could be successfully mapped against the UK Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UKPSF), the document on which our CADENZA process is based.

It’s designed for you

In your job, do you:

  • Plan and deliver events, activities, projects that directly support the University’s Education strategy?
  • Support teaching staff through your work?
  • Develop and deliver high-quality student support and guidance or support those who do?
  • Contribute actively to enhancing our living and learning environment here at Essex?
  • Show your commitment to equality and diversity in education through the work you do?
  • Use your expertise and experience to train, advise or manage others and help them excel and progress in their learning-support roles?

From the outset, Essex deliberately designed its professional development framework, CADENZA, to be inclusive of all staff involved in teaching and supporting learning. As such it reflects the realities of today’s UK Higher Education, an environment in which ‘teaching’ is no longer simply synonymous with lecturing; student support and the management and administration of education provision are no longer wholly the responsibility of academic departments; and where large numbers of so-called ‘third space professionals’ do crucial work developing and delivering high-quality student learning alongside academic staff (Whitchurch, 2008). Large numbers of Professional Services staff at Essex are providing leadership, support and drive to the University’s ‘excellence’ agenda. Encouraging our Professional Services colleagues to apply for HEA recognition and supporting them to be successful is just one of the ways the University can recognise their vital contributions to achieving and maintaining excellence in education at Essex.

10% of successful applications have come from Professional Services staff!

So far, approximately 10% of successful applicants for Senior Fellowship of the HEA through CADENZA are from Professional Services roles. At the ‘Celebrating Excellence’ event, many colleagues were surprised – and encouraged – to learn that Professional Services staff are already well represented amongst the University’s list of HEA fellowship holders at three out of the four levels.

So, are you interested in gaining recognition?

  • Read through our leaflet for Professional Services staff recognition
  • Book your place on our summer 1 hour workshops to find out about the application process, either 7 July or 13 July 2015.
  • If you prefer to talk to an adviser one-to-one or would like to organize a bespoke meeting for you and a group of colleagues in the same section, then we are more than happy to set these up for you. Contact the CADENZA team (E; T 4584) to see how we can help.



Whitchurch, C. (2008), ‘Shifting Identities and Blurring Boundaries: the Emergence of Third Space Professionals in UK Higher Education’. Higher Education Quarterly, 62: 377–396. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2273.2008.00387.x

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