Academic Development and Quality Enhancement

Starting to Teach

Whether you’re new to teaching in Higher Education or building on your existing teaching experience as part of your continued career development, Starting to Teach is designed to give you the core skills, methodologies and confidence essential for good teaching at university level – and support you in gaining a nationally recognised teaching accreditation in the process.

Starting to Teach is shaped by the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), which is produced by the Higher Education Academy to set the standards for Higher Education teaching across all HE institutions and disciplines in the UK. Combining information with practical exercises and written assignments, this module gives you the professional skills and awareness needed to achieve Descriptor 1 of UKPSF and to turn your teaching experience into an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)

Course overview

Spread across 5 core sessions in a term, this 15 credit module is the equivalent of a taught Masters module and gives you the 15 hours of training required to both teach at the University and to gain AFHEA recognition. The first three sessions take place before or early in term and focus on techniques for preparing to teach, how to teach effectively in different environments and formats, and introduce you to some of the ethical and pastoral elements of HE teaching. Alongside this, you’ll also be introduced to the various technologies available to you at Sussex by the Teaching Enhanced Learning team.

The last two sessions take place later in term, in order to give those new to teaching time to gain some teaching experience and to allow you to reflect on your teaching experience so far as a means of developing your pedagogical practice. In these later sessions, we focus on setting and marking assignments, approaches to marking and feedback, and how to learn from your teaching experience for continued professional development and advancement. Your Starting to Teach training may also be complemented by a discipline-specific session run by your School or department at some point in the academic year (not necessarily in the same term as you do Starting to Teach). If your School is providing such a session, it will be advertised via your School.

Completing Starting to Teach

You complete the Starting to Teach module by:

  • Attending all 5 core training sessions
  • Completing and submitting 3 mini-assignments by Session 4 and Session 5.



Gaining Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

The Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy is an award designed to recognise early career HE teaching experience, which means you'll need to have experience teaching at FHEQ Level 4 and above to gain this accreditation.

To gain your AFHEA through the Sussex pathway, you need to:

  • Have some teaching experience at FHEQ Level 4 and upwards
  • Complete the Starting to Teach training and assignments
  • Write a 1,500 word scholarly reflective statement on your teaching experience to be submitted in the assessment period after you have completed Starting to Teach.

If you are currently teaching at the university and have less than 3 years experience teaching in Higher Education, you will be asked to complete Starting to Teach as part of your teaching duties. This means you'll also be able gain Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy by completing the written assessment for the AFHEA.

If you don’t currently have teaching duties or teaching experience you can complete Starting to Teach in preparation for teaching or as part of your continued professional development. PhD students are entitled to attend Starting to Teach within the first two years of their PhD even if they do not yet have teaching duties.

If you then gain relevant HE teaching experience while you are still registered as a PhD student or working at the University, you will be eligible to complete the written assessment for AFHEA recognition.  Please note that you would need to submit the written assessment within two years of the original submission deadline for your cohort.


Contact the Starting to Teach team

Administration and registration team: Emmy Bastin via

Course convenor: Dr Liz Sage (