Programme Specification

The Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (PgCUTL) is a 60 credit Level 7 qualification, which seeks to provide a systematic yet flexible orientation to the knowledge, values, understanding and skills associated with world-class teaching and learning in a research-led university. The basic ethos of the programme is to enable participants to become more competent, confident and reflective university teachers, capable of critically evaluating and developing their own teaching and learning approach in order to facilitate high quality student learning at Cardiff University. The programme provides a practical, work-based and theoretical grounding for participants, by engaging them in the process of enquiry into their own role as a teacher and facilitator of student learning. Such enquiry is encouraged with reference to both discipline and inter-disciplinary contexts, and in relation to a diverse student body. External, discipline-specific networking is available through the Higher Education Academy Network.

The programme has been designed in such a way that it can be taken in 4 stages over a period of up to five years. The programme has been designed to meet the needs of the breadth of staff who support the learning of Cardiff University students.

Staff employed at Grade 6 or 7, within the Teaching and Scholarship or Teaching and Research career pathway, who have a substantial role in supporting teaching and learning, and who are placed on a 36 working month probation period, are required to complete Modules HMT005, HMT006 and HMT007 totalling 40 credits, during the probation period.

Professional recognition:

As a programme of professional development for those who teach and support learning in Higher Education, PgCUTL is aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (the UKPSF). We are seeking accreditation for the Programme such that it offers a pathway for recognition against the standards to both Standard 1 (Associate: HMT005+HMT006) and Standard 2 (Fellow: HMT005+HMT006+HMT007).

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Programme Aims

Due to the flexible nature of participation in the programme, specific learning outcomes are identified for each module within the broad framework of the following, overarching programme aims which are to:

  • Provide a systematic yet flexible orientation to the knowledge, values, understanding and skills associated with world-class teaching, learning and assessment in a research-led University;
  • Provide an orientation to key aspects, nationally and at Cardiff University, of policies, procedures and practices relating to learning and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels;
  • Provide a means for participants to develop a professional, reflective enquiry base to inform their teaching;
  • Provide a means for participants to develop educational values that inform sound academic practice, including their pastoral and legal obligations;
  • Contribute to the fostering of both innovative teaching and effective learning;
  • Enable participants to gain the professional skills relevant to practising effectively and safely in their existing or potential work situation;
  • Provide participants with opportunities to demonstrate collaborative and inter-disciplinary, as well as individual and discipline-focused, working.

As a programme of professional development for those who teach and support learning in Higher Education, PgCUTL is underpinned, in all Modules, by Professional Values. Participants on the programme will be expected to reflect these values in all areas of teaching practice. The PgCUTL Programme’s Professional Values (below) reflect those widely associated with programmes of this kind and are aligned with those articulated in the UKPSF.

  1. An understanding of how students learn;
  2. A commitment to reflection and evaluation and consequent improvement of professional practice;
  3. A respect for individual learners and for their development and empowerment, no matter what their circumstances;
  4. A commitment to scholarship in teaching, both generally and within their own discipline;
  5. A commitment to the development of learning communities, including students, teachers and those engaged in learning support;
  6. A commitment to encouraging participation in higher education with respect to the issues of equality and diversity. In this regard, professional practice should be informed by equal opportunities legislation, policy and best practice.

How the Programme is Delivered

Workshops form the basis of contact-time learning. The workshops are led by Institutional and / or national experts in their theme and are intended to act as triggers to participants’ own enquiry and application into practice. The workshops address generic issues around a theme and involve a diverse range of methods and pedagogic approaches to enable participants to reflect on their application in local contexts. Participants will undertake or contribute to a variety of micro teaching sessions within the workshops, and engage in peer review of learning and teaching (PRLT) with PgCUTL-peers and their mentor. Discussion and sharing of ideas and perspectives are core elements of the programme and are facilitated through face-to-face and electronic networking opportunities. Translation from the generic to the discipline-specific context is supported by a discipline-specific mentor. Non-contact time learning will be supported by the PgCUTL team, a subject-specific mentor and access to comprehensive learning resources through the Module VLE. PgCUTL Mentors are drawn from School staff and, as experienced subject teachers, provide opportunities for crucial context-specific discussion and reflection.

Module HMT007 requires participants to work collaboratively on a small-scale project of their choosing and to present this to peers from the University.

How the Programme is Assessed

PgCUTL has been designed to develop and recognise professional expertise. Therefore assessment approaches require engagement in activities that are of practical benefit to participants, their School / Directorate and Cardiff University, whilst also requiring and developing the depth of understanding associated with professional activity in teaching and learning in a research-led institution.  The assessment activities have been specifically designed to facilitate participants’ learning and achievement of the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO) and Professional Values. All assessment elements are compulsory.

Formative assessment elements include:

  • Written workshop reflections;
  • Developing and annotating lesson plans;
  • Mentor and PgCUTL-peer PRLT;
  • Discussion with the PgCUTL team and peers using technology-based tools;
  • Peer comment;
  • Public project presentation;
  • Mapping learning alignment to the UKPSF.

Summative assessment:

The formative elements for each module feed into, and comprise the bulk of the appendices for, the summative assessment. In all cases the summative assessment comprises a critically reflective teaching portfolio that requires participants to use an academic, Level 7 text to explain how the appendices support their achievement of the module’s Intended Learning Outcomes, Programme Values and claim to the appropriate Standard of the UKPSF.

Other Skills that will be Practised and Developed

If participants complete the full programme they will have the opportunity to practise and develop the following skills:

  • presenting to a small group using an educational medium appropriate to the message;
  • creating and using blogs;
  • creating and using Blackboard discussion fora;
  • creating and using Blackboard wikis;
  • writing lesson plans;
  • writing reflectively;
  • facilitating someone else’s reflective practice through Peer Review of Learning and Teaching;
  • providing feedback through written peer comment;
  • designing inclusive learning resources;
  • working collaboratively with peers in an activity of shared enquiry;
  • presentation skills;
  • critiquing / writing appropriate, constructively aligned modules / programmes of study, with accompanying assessment (of and for learning) strategies;
  • critical review of topics-related, education literature;
  • practise / development of research skills to support pedagogic enquiry;
  • writing reports for dissemination;
  • writing critically and reflectively.

Participants requiring more focussed sessions to develop other teaching / learning support related skills e.g. lecturing skills, vocal skills, presentation skills, personal tutoring, supervising research students, change management, leading and managing teams etc., are advised to take the stand-alone workshops provided by Cardiff University’s Staff Development programme.

What is expected of You

We want you to enjoy your time with PgCUTL!

While every effort is made to ensure flexibility, participants are required to attend all module workshops before they submit their related portfolio for assessment. Time away from the University for illness, maternity leave etc., will stop the clock for completion.

Critique and reflection are core elements of the programme, so participants are required to engage actively in these processes with their local mentor, programme peers and the PgCUTL team. Participants are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study available at: .

All participants are encouraged to access and join the mailing lists of their respective Higher Education Academy Subject Network for support getting an external, subject-specific perspective to local Cardiff University practice, and participants are expected to engage in independent study and apply their learning critically in the preparation of their on-going teaching commitments as outlined in each module handbook.

Finally, as with all programmes of study, participants are expected to adhere to conventions of academic integrity.

How we will Support You

Reading and Learning Support Materials

Core textbooks will support the activities in the programme and copies of these are available in University libraries. The libraries hold a significant collection of materials on learning and teaching (in both paper and electronic format), which has been supplemented in order to support the programme.

Programme VLE: Learning Central

The scheme is supported by Learning Central, the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE).  It is used to provide PgCUTL participants and their mentors with access to all scheme documentation, topical and seminal research papers etc. The VLE also supports peer networking and formative assessment processes.

Working with a Mentor

PgCUTL Mentors are drawn from School staff and, as experienced subject teachers, provide opportunities for crucial context-specific discussion and reflection. There may be an occasion when you feel unable to continue being supported by the mentor you have been allocated. In the first instance we suggest that you bring this to the attention of the PgCUTL Programme Leader. The normal process will then be to discuss the situation with the Head of School/ Directorate who holds overall responsibility for Mentor allocation.


It is appreciated that whilst undertaking a module a participant may need to take time away from the course.  Participants should make themselves familiar with the Academic Regulations, including those relating to Student Attendance, Progress and Absence, which are available on the web:

Requesting time-line adjustments

We would encourage participants to inform the University of any disability, special learning circumstances as this will ensure reasonable adjustments are made as early as possible.  Please contact the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Service or a member of the PgCUTL teaching team.

Please note that adjustment to the timelines is available for all participants who are working on a part time basis. Participants who are employed on a part time contract are advised to discuss their role and adjustment needs with the PgCUTL Programme Leader before registration or as early as possible within the Programme.

Other Information

Welsh Medium Provision

Staff wishing to teach through the medium of Welsh are strongly encouraged to register with the Centre for Welsh Medium Higher Education at: . The Centre provides face-to-face and e-based resources to help new and more established staff consider the opportunities for and practicalities of Welsh Medium Higher Education. Participants can use their successful completion of the Centre’s Introductory workshops for advanced standing entry onto PgCUTL.

In addition, all participants are reminded that, in accordance with the Cardiff University Welsh Language Scheme item 7.4.1. page 13 ( ), participants are able to submit their Module 1 portfolio in Welsh. Please discuss this with the PgCUTL team.


Programme Specification 201516

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