Beyond teaching: Enabling holistic academic practice

  • Jackie Potter
  • Jane Pritchard


Competition for academic staff time to allocate to professional development occurs across an increasingly wide range of aspects of their roles. From learning to addressing areas of compliance with organisational activity, contextual knowledge and new skills and behaviours to enact their varied roles, academic staff are pulled in a range of directions. What if those with an interest in the development of staff in universities all worked together and put the individual academic at the heart of their own development trajectory? At Oxford Brookes University we have developed an holistic model of academic development for all career stages that considers the development needs of individuals as educators, researchers and leaders – the Brookes Academic Development Framework. This model is informed by research on aspects of academic development, particularly the work of Åkerlind (see Åkerlind 2004, 2008). Each of the three aspects are benchmarked to institutional and/or national frameworks for the development of academic staff. In this paper we introduce the framework, its purposes and underpinning philosophy; we show how we have gone from a “good idea” based on effective collaboration and a willingness to put the academic at the heart of their experience to the reality of delivering a coherent, flexible, fit for purpose professional development programme. With participants, we explore the competing expectations on academic staff in their institutions on entry, at different career points and on different career pathways. We map these and then support participants in building personal holistic frameworks that could meet those needs.