Imperial College recognises the importance of personal development for its staff; both to support them in existing roles whilst simultaneously working towards progression and longer-term career goals.

We know that evidence is key for being able to demonstrate the skills and experience needed to support promotion processes. Therefore, to support our Teaching Fellows, they are contractually entitled to take 10 development days per year to invest in their personal development, enabling them to build the necessary skills to excel in their current and future careers.

If you have any further questions, you can contact the HR Policy & Reward mailbox


Staff Guidance

Some information on your 10 development days:
  • The 10 development days can be used for anything that would be developmental for you, and is beyond what would be expected as part of your usual role and responsibilities.
  • They are in your contract.
  • It’s important to remember to use your 10 development days effectively as they cannot be carried over to the next year.
  • This provides an opportunity for you to identify potential skill gaps and be proactive in researching a solution.
  • Keep a record of your development; what have you done, and what did you learn? Can you implement and develop your learning? The Teaching Fellows 10 development days template may be helpful for this. 
  • And remember, all POD, EDIC and EDU (including PG Cert, PG Dip, MEd) courses are free for Imperial teaching fellows.
  • You can plan and discuss how to use your development days with your Line Manager, mentor, colleagues, EDU and CHERS.
  • Reflecting on the activities you did, and how you will use your 10 development days should be a part of your annual review conversation (ARC). This gives you an opportunity to discuss with your line manager any further developmental strategy.
Common skills required to be a Teaching Fellow include: 
  • Independence
  • Networking skills
  • Pedagogic research and evaluation skills
  • Awareness of technological innovations in teaching and learning
  • Awareness of appropriate pedagogic theory and evidence
  • Good communication
  • Teamwork
  • Awareness of the importance of Equality & Diversity
  • Monitoring, reviewing and reflection
  • Leadership and Management skills
How can you achieve these skills? 

The list of options is endless, remember that some of these will be dependant on your department and/or role, or on your route for promotion (practitioner vs research):

  • Workshops/courses/programmes and other training (internal - POD, EDIC and EDU - or external)
  • Develop and deliver – Outreach and Engagement Activities
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Take part in a committee to broaden your profile beyond teaching e.g. Athena SWAN, Sustainability, EDI
  • Applying for grants / bursaries to support conference attendance or teaching innovation projects
  • Plan/organise or attend an event
  • Setting up/running a Special Interest Group
  • Setting up/running Student Shapers project, etc.
  • Engage with governmental and/or professional bodies with regards teaching
  • Working towards a professional body recognition e.g. FHEA or FAoME
  • Active community participation e.g. teaching fellow network, talking teaching, CHERSNet
  • Contribution to Imperials Festival of Learning and teaching or similar external events and conferences
  • Mentoring more junior colleagues or participating in reverse mentoring
  • Acting as a reviewer for Imperial's STAR Framework or EERP process
  • Developing educational experience in roles such as module lead, personal tutor, project supervisor etc
  • Reviewing for an educational journal
  • Being an external examiner
  • Publishing education practice or research in a report, blog, paper, textbook

Manager and Advisory Guidance

Teaching Fellows are contractually entitled to 10 development days for professional development outside their ‘normal expected activity’. As managers/advisors it is your responsibility to: 
  • Allocate 10 days pro rata, per year, for their teaching fellows to engage with professional development, supporting them to balance the delivery of their teaching duties with their wider professional development.
  • There is variation in the sort of ‘normal expected activity’ of teachers, for example, while some may have the expectation of outreach activity in their role, for others this would not be expected and could therefore be an appropriate use of these development days. You are expected to discuss potential development opportunities in light of your teachers’ context and expected activities.
  • Identify opportunities and allow time, for their teachers to develop their professional identity and broader leadership skills and provide appropriate credit and recognition for their endeavours.
How can you support your teaching fellows to plan and use their 10 days development time?

You can support those who teach and support learning through ongoing conversations about their career plans, offering feedback on their skills development, encouraging, and providing opportunities for them to develop skills, gain experiences and enhance their knowledge to develop their careers. These conversations will take place through the Annual Review Conversation (formerly PRDP) but should take place more frequently in more informal meetings as they make progress, and their plans and skills develop throughout the year.

You don’t need to be an expert in career management, but you need to be willing to have the conversation, encourage them to think about and plan their next career steps, offer useful feedback, and support them in finding and taking development opportunities.

How to view the teaching fellows in your group ‘taking time away’ to spend on 10 days development activities

Although the 10 development days are expected to be spent on development activities that are not directly related to their normal work duties, it is very likely that the activities they engage with will also benefit you, the teaching, and ultimately student experience and both staff and student wellbeing.

Taking time for this can re-energise and motivate, as well as help teachers to come back to their duties with fresh perspectives, new ideas, and strengthened networks. They will be learning new skills and approaches that could be shared with team members and engaging in activities that promote or develop the teaching and programmes they work on.

Supporting teaching staff who are reluctant to take the time for their development

Teaching fellows may feel pressure to spend time on their day-to-day duties and even feel guilt at taking time for their development. It is important to stress that taking time to reflect and develop will help them to feel more confident and motivated to progress in their current role and future career. If an individual feels they do not have enough time to take on development activities, then this would be an opportunity for you to have a coaching conversation with them to review and reflect on their priorities, clarify your expectations, and give them feedback on their progress and areas for future development.

Supporting teaching fellows who wish to use their 10 development days to plan and enable a career move outside academia

A vital responsibility of any manager is to support the career development and aspirations of those they manage, irrespective of their intended destination. Simply, a definition of leadership is ‘enabling the success of others.’ Your teaching staff moving into a new and fulfilling career is a success for you, and you do not have to be an expert in careers to support them in this. Be open to the discussion and know where to signpost them to opportunities and support so that they can develop relevant skills, networks and hone their job-seeking skills.