Learning - CPD programmes
Edinburgh's approach to building support for public engagement into CPD programmes
Institutions take different approaches to developing a professional development programme in public engagement but there are some common principles:
a) Define public engagement and the skills required to do it
The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) has developed an attributes framework for public engagement. The framework helps staff and students in UK Universities to identify the personal attributes and skills required for different public engagement (PE) activities. It is also a tool for research institutions and networks to reflect on the current training and development opportunities that develop these skills.
b) Complete a training audit to assess the opportunities already available in your institution
The University of Edinburgh presented an attributes framework to different training providers. The providers identified which courses in the university developed those skills.
The Manchester Beacon interviewed to staff to find out which areas of public engagement they would be keen to receive training in, and used this insight to develop a formal programme with their human resources department.
c) Check for overlaps, gaps and assess demand for new courses
Developing new courses is expensive. If there are gaps, it is useful to find out how much demand there is for training in that area. It might be more cost effective to buy places on established courses run elsewhere. The NCCPE provide a list of such training and can recommend potential training providers and offer advice on how to commission courses.
d) Provide training opportunities in a way which allows people to create personalised programmes linked to their needs and interests
The Manchester Beacon, CUE East, The Edinburgh Beltane and The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute all took different approaches to developing professional development programmes in public engagement. However, each group found that a personalised approach to public engagement that was not tied to a sequence or progression was very important.
e) Encourage strategic development: set goals, track progress and reflect on experience
Established professional development programmes in other sectors recommend a reflective approach to development. Applying skills and reflecting on experience encourages people to consider how they can improve.
f) Consider integrating Professional Development in Public Engagement into the appraisal system at your institution
A reflective approach to professional development could include a diary or portfolio which could be used as evidence of development during an appraisal. You can find out more information about public engagement and appraisal processes in the Recognition section.
g) Support public engagement training providers to share best practice
This could result in more strategic and sustainable development, courses of better quality and create a support network amongst the staff in this group.
Find out more about how the University of Edinburgh followed these principles.
The Manchester Beacon commissioned FLOW Associates to run two half day practical introductory workshops on aspects of delivering public engagement. The workshops also provided an opportunity to assess practitioner skill needs in public engagement to inform the development of a more extensive professional development package in the future.
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute commissioned a comprehensive review of professional development in public engagement, and revised their own training provision as a result: ‘Towards a professional development framework for scientists involved in public engagement work,’ (2010)
Find out how the University of Edinburgh tackled these other key areas: