The AUA CPD Framework

What is the CPD Framework?

The AUA CPD Framework is a versatile tool designed to support the career development needs of higher education professionals. It works on an organisational and individual level, for staff at all career stages and can be applied across all roles in the sector.

We collaborated with HEFCE, LFHE and HEA and jointly funded a two year project to launch the Framework in 2009.  The AUA refreshed and relaunched it in 2016 at our Annual Conference.

The Framework provides:

  • A broad structure to help your institutions identify the CPD needs of professional services staff, and plan and deliver tailored development activities
  • A broad structure for individuals (you) to help them identify their own CPD needs and plan personal professional development
  • A model of professional behaviours
  • Flexibility for local tailoring so your institution can substitute your own CPD processes and documentation, capability frameworks, organisational values and behaviours while still benefiting from the broader framework
  • The basis for a common national approach to CPD for professional services staff in UK higher education


The professional behaviours

The Framework offers a model of nine professional behaviours.  The model builds on best practice in the HE sector, and elsewhere, and draws on National Occupational Standards to provide a clear steer on key and valued behaviours based on AUA’s of Statement of Values. The professional behaviours framework complements the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in HE.

Managing self and personal skills – Being aware of your own behaviour and mindful of how it impacts on others and, as a result, enhancing your personal skills to adapt to professional practice.

Delivering excellent service – Providing the best quality service to external and internal clients. Building genuine and open long-term relationships in order to drive up service standards.

Finding solutions – Taking a holistic view and working enthusiastically to analyse problems and to develop workable solutions. Identifying opportunities for innovation.

Embracing change – Being open to, and engaging with, new ideas and ways of working. Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, shifting demands and changing roles.

Using resources effectively – Identifying and making the most productive use of resources including people, time, information, networks and budgets.

Engaging with the wider context – Enhancing your contribution to the organisation through an understanding of the bigger picture and showing commitment to organisational values.

Developing self and others – Showing commitment to your own ongoing professional development. Supporting and encouraging others to develop their professional knowledge, skills and behaviours to help them reach their full potential.

Working together – Working collaboratively with others in order to achieve objectives.  Recognising and valuing the different contributions people bring to this process.

Achieving results – Consistently meeting agreed objectives and success criteria. Taking personal responsibility for getting things done.

Download the AUA CPD Framework [PDF] (Second Edition, March 2016) containing detailed descriptions of the Professional Behaviours.

Exemplar behaviours

Within the Framework you will find exemplar behaviours for each behavioural group. These are divided into three categories:

Self: Behaviours that may be observed whatever the working situation

Others: Behaviours that may be observed when interacting with and influencing others, or when managing colleagues

Organisation: Behaviours that may be observed when influencing at organisational level or representing the organisations

The Framework also identifies behaviours that may indicate a need for further development for each of the behavioural categories. These are offered as a positive tool for self-assessment and reflection.

Benefits of the AUA CPD Framework

The Framework adds a new behavioural perspective to career development. This complements and enhances the more familiar information provided by job descriptions and personal specifications.

The Framework benefits both organisations and individuals:

For organisations, the Framework gives you a roadmap to make sure the development opportunities you offer staff individually, as teams, departments or whole institutions, will allow them to realise their potential and progress their careers. Institutions benefit by:

  • Enhancing institutional performance through nurturing high quality staff
  • Developing management and leadership capability
  • Enabling succession planning
  • Providing a framework for sustainable practice in career planning
  • Fostering equality and diversity of development opportunities across the sector.

It works for individuals, by allowing them to analyse their own behaviour in a range of situations and clearly identify areas for improvement.

Using the Framework

The professional behaviours framework can be used by individuals to:

  • Identify the behaviours that are relevant to their job
  • Identify their personal CPD needs
  • Develop those behaviours and improve their performance
  • Identify ways to build on and maximise their existing strengths
  • Seek structured feedback from others
  • Provide structured feedback to colleagues

And by organisations to:

  • Design specific learning and development activities to improve individual and organisational performance
  • Focus on the behavioural requirements of a job in an objective and specific way when recruiting and selecting
  • Support the development of staff to prepare them to compete for more senior roles
  • Demonstrate to potential employees that they will be offered excellent personal and professional development opportunities, particularly if your organisation chooses to work towards the AUA Mark of Excellence

Licensing information

The AUA CPD Framework documentation by the Association of University Administrators is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are permitted to copy this work or adapt this work for use within your own organisation, provided it is not used for commercial purposes, permission is received from the AUA, and that the AUA is attributed as the original source of the work.

Please contact the AUA to obtain the permissions wording that must appear on adapted documentation, or for queries regarding the distribution or re-use of material.