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Four ways to progress in your university lecturing career

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Want to get ahead in your university lecturing career? You should read this…

Whether you’re an experienced university lecturer or you’re new to the sector, you might be wondering how you can progress in your career, not to mention improve your employment prospects.

We spoke to the University of Liverpool’s online programmes team to find out four of the best ways you can progress in your university lecturing career: 


1. Make your professional development a priority

Professional development is an ongoing process that involves learning new skills and staying up to date with the latest trends and developments in your field. 

In higher education, a commitment to continuing professional development (CPD) is extremely important in ensuring your teaching and professional practice is current and relevant. It’s also something that universities value in their faculty. 

You can aid your CPD by attending workshops, conferences, and seminars, as well actively engaging yourself in research and scholarship opportunities – whether it’s through conducting original research, or publishing papers in academic journals. 

Not only will these things help you stay current with new teaching methods and technologies, but they’ll also allow you to branch out into new fields of research, build a portfolio that enhances your reputation, and network with other educators in your field.

In the early stages of your career, it is often most helpful to focus on your academic practice, expanding your knowledge of pedagogic approaches, improving your communication skills and becoming more effective at supporting learning. 

As you become more established, your focus may shift to developing your leadership capabilities. This could include understanding different leadership styles, effective stakeholder management and developing scholarship relevant to academic practice in higher education.     


2. Develop your own practice around assessment and feedback

University lecturers can often spend a significant amount of time in giving assessment and feedback but without necessarily having received much in the way of guidance as to how to approach this. Across the sector assessment and feedback are flagged as some of the lowest scoring areas of student satisfaction.

In terms of improving your own practice, you can once again take a strategic approach. This could include making sure you take time to understand academic standards or by offering to take on a greater role in activities such as curriculum design. 

You might also like to think about the various barriers to student engagement, and to explore solutions to overcome these hurdles. Learning to appreciate different global perspectives and to understand the issues around equality, diversity, inclusivity and student identity, will all be important.  

Once you can examine your own approach critically and make the connections between theory and practice with your own students, you will be well on your way to improving your capability and confidence. 


3. Ask for feedback from your peers  

Reflecting on your practice with the benefit of constructive feedback from others is a critical skill for the developing academic. Not only will this allow you to see your professional practice from a different perspective, but it will help you to better understand the areas in which you can improve.

As a starting point, it’s a great idea to ask one of your academic peers (ideally someone who is a more experienced colleague) to sit in on one of your lectures, and provide their thoughts, suggestions, and constructive criticism.  

Additionally, away from the lecture hall, ask your peers for feedback on your lesson plans and don’t be afraid to test out your ideas with them to gather new and different viewpoints.    

Most importantly, listen to your students. What questions are they most commonly asking? Which areas seem to be the most challenging for them? Typically, these are the areas of the curriculum, or of your professional practice, that you should be placing an extra focus on. 


4. Work on your credentials

In addition to having a postgraduate degree in your subject area of teaching, it’s becoming increasingly important for university lecturers to have a higher education teaching qualification, particularly one that demonstrates their commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching.

The University of Liverpool offers a fully online Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) which can be completed on a part-time basis in around 10 months and studied from anywhere with an internet connection. The PGCAP is recognised as the “industry standard” for UK higher education and has a growing international profile. The Liverpool PGCAP attracts students from internationally diverse backgrounds and offers two pathways depending on higher education teaching experience.  


The Standard (University of Liverpool Award) Pathway

For those who do not yet hold a substantive teaching position in higher education, the Standard (University of Liverpool Award) Pathway will provide an excellent grounding in the theory and practice of teaching and supporting learning in higher education in a global context. 


The Advance HE Accredited (FHEA and University of Liverpool Award) Pathway 

If you are already in a role which would enable you to demonstrate Descriptor Level 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), the Advance HE Accredited (FHEA and University of Liverpool Award) Pathway offers simultaneous professional recognition as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) through our unique partnership with Advance HE, the UK’s foremost agency for driving excellence and developing leadership in higher education.

Attaining Fellowship demonstrates that your practice aligns with the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UKPSF, 2011). Fellowship is increasingly sought by higher education institutions across the world as a condition for employment and advancement. 


After the Postgraduate Certificate

For students who wish to study beyond a Postgraduate Certificate, the University offers progression to a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDAP) and Master of Arts (MA AP) in Academic Practice. The PGDAP builds on learning from both Postgraduate Certificate pathways to further develop academic leadership, scholarship, and pedagogic research skills. The MA includes an Academic Practice project where you can explore an area of your professional interest in more detail.

There is a strong network after graduation from all awards, with alumni able to publish in the University of Liverpool’s Developing Academic Practice Journal and invited to attend the online Pedagogic Research Conference held annually in January. 


Why study online with the University of Liverpool? 

Online programmes from the University of Liverpool provide a flexible study option to further your learning and progress your career while continuing with your current professional and personal commitments. 

The University is a European leader in 100% online postgraduate education, with programmes designed for online delivery, state-of-the-art learning, and collaboration with fellow professionals from around the world.

More benefits of studying online with the University of Liverpool include: 


  • Receive a qualification from the University of Liverpool, a founding member of the UK Russell Group, consistently ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide
  • Become a life-long member of the University’s fantastic global alumni community of over 20,000 online graduates
  • Affordable study options, discounts and scholarships for eligible candidates
  • Explore interactive study materials via a state-of-the-art virtual learning platform
  • Receive personalised support from experienced tutors and a student services team


“One of the things you will find inspiring about the programme is that you are part of a global network, not just your own cohort. It is an opportunity to meet different colleagues from different parts of the world. You are coming from a different context, they are coming from a different kind of practice, and it is a wonderful experience to learn from those differences.”  

Prof. Mark Oliver S. Llangco, PGCAP Student – University of the Philippines Los Baños. 



Find out more



Interested in furthering your university lecturing career with an academic practice qualification? Talk to the University of Liverpool’s online programmes team today.



The University of Liverpool is one of Europe’s leading providers of 100% online postgraduate degrees, offering part-time programmes in a range of subjects including business and management computer science, law, psychology and public health.





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