Becoming Agents of Change

Becoming agents of change: an examination of teachers' perceptions of how the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PgCAP) develops their agency as teachers.

School/Unit:  Institute for Academic Development

Team Members:  Hazel Christie, Andrea English, Catriona Bell, Holly Linklater, Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka, Heather McQueen, Natasa Pantic, Stephen Ryan, Diana Murdoch


This project examines if, and how, participants in the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PgCAP) at the University of Edinburgh take their new knowledge and understanding into their workplace and use it to become agents of change. For the past few years, the University has underscored its strategic commitment to support excellence in teaching and learning with an expressed interest in enhancing students’ experience of courses and programmes as represented in NSS scores. The PgCAP (based in IAD) is one component of the University’s wider CPD Framework for Learning and Teaching and contributes to the UoE Learning and Teaching Enhancement Strategy (ULTS, accessed 2017).

Excellence in teaching is now a key driver of policy in higher education. To this end the UK government is shortly to implement the Teaching Excellency Framework (TEF) which will seek to measure teaching quality across English and Welsh universities. Although the UoE is not taking part in the TEF, relying instead on its robust quality assurance procedures, excellence in teaching is very much on the agenda and universities are concerned to better understand how to support staff to become excellent teachers. Given this current climate, this project aims to understand the ways in which the PgCAP is supporting staff to develop and enhance their abilities as “agents of change”, who actively improve learning  environments towards the creation of more inclusive, student-centered classrooms, as well as to critically investigate how the PgCAP could be improved to better support the development of excellence in teaching.

Final project report

Download the final project report (PDF)