Supporting teaching and learning transformations through the national professional development framework: establishing and recognising an inclusive community of practice for all who teach in Irish higher education

Roisin Catherine Donnelly, Terry Maguire


The National Forum (NF) for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning has recently completed an initial implementation of the National Professional Development Framework (PDF) for all who teach in higher education. Prior to the publication of the PD Framework in 2016, there was no mechanism or route in place nationally to give structure, focus and support to individual staff to avail of relevant professional development and utilise it to realise their full potential in their teaching role. This important work is deepening sectoral understanding of the PDF itself and leading towards national recognition of an individual’s commitment to their professional development across the universities, institutes of technology and private colleges.


This article is written as a reflective commentary on this key national initiative in Irish higher education. It outlines the challenge in the development of the framework, that must be relevant in a diversity of institutional contexts and approaches of professional development across the sector. The framework, to be sustainable, required an inherent inclusivity and flexibility that enables all staff who teach, regardless of the context within which they work, to engage with the framework to support their professional development throughout their career.  This paper explores other themes that emerged during the development and subsequent implementation of the framework including the personal and professional aspects of development for those who teach; change as a means of individual empowerment; an emergent community of practice supporting implementation, and supporting the emergence of transformations at institutional level.

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